USS Milwaukee gunship seizes alleged cocaine shipment worth an estimated $22 million

The Freedom-variant littoral combat ship USS Milwaukee with an integrated US Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment (LEDET) recently announced that it seized approximately $22 million worth of suspected cocaine on January 7.

While on patrol, a maritime patrol aircraft spotted a suspected drug-trafficking fast vessel (GFV) and Milwaukee was vectored in for an interception. Milwaukee deployed its MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopter, assigned to the “Sea Knights” of the Helicopter Sea Attack Squadron, and a Rigid Hull Inflatable Boat (RHIB).

The LEDET observed packages thrown into the water and then took the positive control of the GFV. After receiving permission to conduct a boarding, they recovered the packages and five suspected drug traffickers were arrested.

“There is an electric atmosphere on board and anytime we can accomplish a mission that directly impacts America’s security; it contributes to that winning mindset,” said Cmdr. Brian Forster, commanding officer of the USS Milwaukee. “The crew is thrilled to have accomplished our first embarkation, and they ran flawlessly from start to finish. It’s a good feeling to know that a lot of drugs won’t make it to the streets of America or with our partners in the Caribbean.

Milwaukee and LEDET recovered approximately 315 kilograms of suspected cocaine with an approximate street value of over $22 million. With more than 90% of all commerce traveling by sea, and 95% of global telephone and Internet traffic carried by fiber optic cables lying on the ocean floor, Navy officials continue to emphasize that the America’s prosperity and security depend directly on a strong and ready navy.

“We are very pleased with the effectiveness of everyone’s response and the integration of all parties involved,” said Lt. Jordan Lachowsky, the officer in charge of LEDET. “We look forward to more opportunities and more success in the near future.”

The USS Milwaukee deployed Dec. 14 to the U.S. 4th Fleet area of ​​operations to support the Joint Interagency Task Force South mission, which includes counter-narcotics missions in the Caribbean and the Eastern Pacific.

On April 1, 2020, the United States Southern Command launched what was then known as the Western Hemisphere Enhanced Counter-Narcotics Operations to increase the disruption of illegal drug trafficking.

The increased naval presence has enhanced law enforcement support from the United States and partner nations by sharing information and intelligence to help expand target sets. As a result, key partners have been involved in more than 60% of drug-related disruptions since April 2020, up from 50% in 2019. By strengthening partnerships, we fight threats together.

Combined Military Operations employed maritime forces in cooperative maritime security operations to maintain access, improve interoperability and build enduring partnerships to enhance regional security in the Caribbean, Central America and of South America.

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