Wednesday, September 18, 2013

4th Fleet Frigate Offloads $78 Million in Drugs

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Sean Allen, U.S. 4th Fleet Public Affairs
NAVAL STATION MAYPORT, Fla. (NNS) -- The Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigate USS Rentz (FFG-46) and its embarked Coast Guard law enforcement detachment transferred $78 Million in confiscated cocaine Sept. 15 to the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Forward (WMEC 911) in the Western Caribbean Sea while assigned to the U.S. 4th Fleet.

The 2,123 pounds of cocaine were seized in early August from a fishing vessel north of the Galapagos Islands while the Rentz was conducting Counter Transnational Organized Crime Operations (C-TOC) in the 4th Fleet area of operations in support of Operation Martillo.

Operation Martillo, Spanish for "hammer," is a partner-nation effort targeting illicit trafficking routes in coastal waters along the Central American isthmus.

"The flow of illegal drugs has a destabilizing effect on our partner nations, and together, we are determined to prevent it," said Rear Adm. Sinclair M. Harris, the commander of U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command and U.S. 4th Fleet. "The hard work of the Rentz and Forward crews is essential to this effort."

U.S. military participation in Operation Martillo is led by Joint Interagency Task Force-South, a component of U.S. Southern Command

U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command and U.S. 4th Fleet employ maritime forces in cooperative maritime security operations in order to maintain access, enhance interoperability and build enduring partnerships that foster regional security in the U.S. Southern Command Area of Responsibility.