Bilateral Cooperation Leads to Multiple Drug Seizures through Operation MARTILLO

Bilateral Cooperation Leads to Multiple Drug Seizures through Operation MARTILLO

By Dialogo
December 11, 2014




The Panamanian Coast Guard and the USS Gary teamed up to seize 57 kilograms of cocaine and 7.5 kilograms of marijuana from a go-fast vessel off the Central American coast while supporting Operation MARTILLO on November 16.

The joint interdiction was made just after sunset, when one of the USS Gary’s helicopters spotted the suspicious vessel and relayed the position of the go-fast boat to the Panamanian Coast Guard. The two converged upon the suspect vessel and performed a joint interdiction. Neither the Panamanian Coast Guard nor the U.S. Navy disclosed whether their forces made any arrests or the precise location of the operation.

Bilateral cooperation was crucial to the interdiction.

“I coordinate search patterns and recovery methods for contraband with the Panamanian Coast Guard,” Operation Specialist Ramiro Moreno, one of the USS Gary’s primary translators, said in a prepared statement. “It’s a great feeling to work with our Panamanian allies and to know we are making a difference out here.”

Operation MARTILLO is a multinational mission to crack down on illicit drug trafficking routes in coastal waters along the Central American isthmus.

The operation, which was launched in January 2012, combines the forces of 10 countries in the Americas – Belize, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Canada, and the United States – along with France, the Netherlands, Spain and the United Kingdom. They work together to combat international drug trafficking, enhance regional security, and promote peace, stability and prosperity throughout the Caribbean and Central and South America.

At-sea interdictions are highly coordinated, with the security forces of the participating countries partnering to identify, stop, and search suspicious vessels.

“The coordination required to complete a drug interdiction is no small thing,” Commander Robert Jones, the USS Gary’s executive officer, said in a prepared statement. “From the Joint Operations Center, to airborne maritime patrol aircraft, the ship and embarked [helicopters], everything has to line up perfectly to find that needle in a haystack. I’m a little surprised each time we successfully stop a trafficker, but every time we do it validates the effort we're putting into the mission. There is simply no better indicator that you're making a difference than seeing contraband loaded onboard.”

Nearly 90 percent of the cocaine that reaches the United States is trafficked through Mexico and Central America, according to the United Nations International Narcotics Control Board.

Multiple drug interdictions


The USS Gary has made five successful interdictions in recent months, seizing a total of 2,500 kilograms of cocaine shipments off Central America’s coast.

U.S. Navy officials have not disclosed the precise location of each operation or whether any arrests were made.

On November 18, the USS Gary, one of its helicopters, its inflatable boat and a U.S. Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment (LEDET) confiscated 590 kilograms of cocaine that bad been thrown overboard by the crew off a go-fast boat.

Eight days earlier, a U.S. Navy Maritime Patrol Aircraft alerted the USS Gary of a suspicious vessel in an area known for narco-trafficking as the sun was setting. The Gary’s helicopter, LEDET and Navy Visit, Board, Search, and Seizure (VBSS) made the interdiction, uncovering 520 kilograms of cocaine wrapped in bales.

On October 16, the USS Gary again used it squadron of helicopters and LEDET to interdict a suspicious vessel spotted by a U.S. Navy Maritime Patrol Aircraft. Sailors and LEDET agents arrived in time to recover bales containing 960 kilograms of cocaine that crew members of the suspect boat had tossed overboard.

“The crew has a real sense of accomplishment while participating in counter-narcotics operations,” Commander Steven McDowell, the USS Gary’s commanding officer, said in a prepared statement. “Our crew wants to make a difference – and they are succeeding!"

Operation MARTILLO yields results


The 14 partner nations working as part of Operation MARTILLO seized about 14 tons of cocaine, worth an estimated 423 million dollars, and captured 55 suspects during 18 separate interdictions off the coasts of Central and South America between July and October.

In 2013, security forces with Operation MARTILLO seized 131 metric tons of cocaine, more than 32,000 pounds of marijuana, and 4,000 grams of heroin. Security forces with Operation MARTILLO also captured 295 suspects.

Military commanders reviewed Operation MARTILLO at the Central American Regional Security Conference (CENTSEC 2014) that was held in Guatemala City in April. At that conference, General John F. Kelly, the commander of the U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM), praised all the countries for their efforts.

“MARTILLO has been a success … because of your participation, your leadership and because of your partnership,” Gen. Kelly said. “We couldn’t do this without you; and looking ahead, we’ll be relying on each other more and more to capitalize on our strengths in this fight.”



The Panamanian Coast Guard and the USS Gary teamed up to seize 57 kilograms of cocaine and 7.5 kilograms of marijuana from a go-fast vessel off the Central American coast while supporting Operation MARTILLO on November 16.

The joint interdiction was made just after sunset, when one of the USS Gary’s helicopters spotted the suspicious vessel and relayed the position of the go-fast boat to the Panamanian Coast Guard. The two converged upon the suspect vessel and performed a joint interdiction. Neither the Panamanian Coast Guard nor the U.S. Navy disclosed whether their forces made any arrests or the precise location of the operation.

Bilateral cooperation was crucial to the interdiction.

“I coordinate search patterns and recovery methods for contraband with the Panamanian Coast Guard,” Operation Specialist Ramiro Moreno, one of the USS Gary’s primary translators, said in a prepared statement. “It’s a great feeling to work with our Panamanian allies and to know we are making a difference out here.”

Operation MARTILLO is a multinational mission to crack down on illicit drug trafficking routes in coastal waters along the Central American isthmus.

The operation, which was launched in January 2012, combines the forces of 10 countries in the Americas – Belize, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Canada, and the United States – along with France, the Netherlands, Spain and the United Kingdom. They work together to combat international drug trafficking, enhance regional security, and promote peace, stability and prosperity throughout the Caribbean and Central and South America.

At-sea interdictions are highly coordinated, with the security forces of the participating countries partnering to identify, stop, and search suspicious vessels.

“The coordination required to complete a drug interdiction is no small thing,” Commander Robert Jones, the USS Gary’s executive officer, said in a prepared statement. “From the Joint Operations Center, to airborne maritime patrol aircraft, the ship and embarked [helicopters], everything has to line up perfectly to find that needle in a haystack. I’m a little surprised each time we successfully stop a trafficker, but every time we do it validates the effort we're putting into the mission. There is simply no better indicator that you're making a difference than seeing contraband loaded onboard.”

Nearly 90 percent of the cocaine that reaches the United States is trafficked through Mexico and Central America, according to the United Nations International Narcotics Control Board.

Multiple drug interdictions


The USS Gary has made five successful interdictions in recent months, seizing a total of 2,500 kilograms of cocaine shipments off Central America’s coast.

U.S. Navy officials have not disclosed the precise location of each operation or whether any arrests were made.

On November 18, the USS Gary, one of its helicopters, its inflatable boat and a U.S. Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment (LEDET) confiscated 590 kilograms of cocaine that bad been thrown overboard by the crew off a go-fast boat.

Eight days earlier, a U.S. Navy Maritime Patrol Aircraft alerted the USS Gary of a suspicious vessel in an area known for narco-trafficking as the sun was setting. The Gary’s helicopter, LEDET and Navy Visit, Board, Search, and Seizure (VBSS) made the interdiction, uncovering 520 kilograms of cocaine wrapped in bales.

On October 16, the USS Gary again used it squadron of helicopters and LEDET to interdict a suspicious vessel spotted by a U.S. Navy Maritime Patrol Aircraft. Sailors and LEDET agents arrived in time to recover bales containing 960 kilograms of cocaine that crew members of the suspect boat had tossed overboard.

“The crew has a real sense of accomplishment while participating in counter-narcotics operations,” Commander Steven McDowell, the USS Gary’s commanding officer, said in a prepared statement. “Our crew wants to make a difference – and they are succeeding!"

Operation MARTILLO yields results


The 14 partner nations working as part of Operation MARTILLO seized about 14 tons of cocaine, worth an estimated 423 million dollars, and captured 55 suspects during 18 separate interdictions off the coasts of Central and South America between July and October.

In 2013, security forces with Operation MARTILLO seized 131 metric tons of cocaine, more than 32,000 pounds of marijuana, and 4,000 grams of heroin. Security forces with Operation MARTILLO also captured 295 suspects.

Military commanders reviewed Operation MARTILLO at the Central American Regional Security Conference (CENTSEC 2014) that was held in Guatemala City in April. At that conference, General John F. Kelly, the commander of the U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM), praised all the countries for their efforts.

“MARTILLO has been a success … because of your participation, your leadership and because of your partnership,” Gen. Kelly said. “We couldn’t do this without you; and looking ahead, we’ll be relying on each other more and more to capitalize on our strengths in this fight.”
I think what they're doing is something good It's admirable that the Operation MARTILLO is successful in looking for illegal drug smuggling but they don't punish those who grow coca, etc., nor do they show them that it's bad. They should start by getting rid of these crops a drug, according to the dictionary, is a solution of two or more elements It is very good It's good they trap those depraved criminals because it's their fault there is no peace in the world If the United States isn't the one to do the [illegible] who else will do it Yes, that's good Mrs. Cabal is going to be very bored carrying the image of Garcia Marquez printed on the new bills in her wallet It is very good Where can I take it urgently so that it comes out in tonight's news? A young girl, 15, who was taken off the Transmilenio (rapid transit) I don't know how because she was with her parents. I know about this news because a photo of her came to me on Whatsapp and a story by a friend of mine who knows here and she's asking us to help find her my contact information is as follows to send you the recent photo.
Alfredo Diaz 3212410441. We want more patrols in our city or in the department that surrounds us What they're doing is good but truly they should do it because there's a lot of corruption and if they really do it, congratulations How awful Cordial regards.
I need to know, if you would consider it. If my comment sent on January 1 this year, titled LAUNCHING THE NEW YEAR. If it was approved to be published in the Readers Comments section of the Colombiano. God pay you. The army should be better trained to make this scourge of terrorists disappear so that Peru can be a peaceful country and have more development and more financial support for teachers because everything is based on education. Congratulations, we have to make drug trafficking disappear too. because I like news that is told well and the things you must know. Thank you Good day, I think this is really great because here in Colombia corruption starts within our army people who spend years getting trained for all these kinds of war and becoming part of the special forces and people win with sanctions and in patio battalions and the worst thing is you come out unprepared for civilian life, blindfolded. At least a soldier is trained for a year in the SENA and the army forgets about the retired officers available a good retirement is never asked and the people who served us for years. What happened to them I entered the institution when I was 17 and I left when I was 45. The generals don't care about that since they come out with good money, a pension and bodyguards THIS IS A VERY GOOD OPERATION. YOU CAN TELL IT'S HAVING A POSITIVE OUTCOME, BUT HONDURAS ALSO NEEDS TO BE SUPPORTED, GIVING IT ACCESS TO THE RADAR PLATFORM TO STRENGTHEN THE AIR SQUADRON IN FIGHTING DRUG TRAFFICKING. Very interesting we're kept up-to-date on the news. Thank you very much and congratulations So good for the alliance between these countries to defeat drug trafficking that hurts humanity so much. because I like well-told news and the things you must know. Thank you EXCELLENT PUBLICATION It's good to know that the struggle is worldwide and that the 14 countries will become more because this scourge cannot defeat humanity. He congratulated you and my family is happy to know that a united humankind will never be defeated by the criminals of our childhood and the suffering of our parents. Thank you heroes of health, economy and well being of the healthy world The work done by the PNP (Panamanian National Police) always improves day by day. Congratulations I want to congratulate the head office of this kind of operation as well as each one of the elements that make up the elite units. Keep moving forward and may God bless you. Very good. Congratulations something good I am very glad I am Peruvian, they've finally taken control of this tremendous evil that is drugs

CONGRATULATIONS It's a way to see the daily news in our country. And that way we inform This fight against drug trafficking is a great thing, there should be harsher sanctions against those governments who negotiated with pardoned narcos, letting these generational criminals out onto the streets, who many times take advantage of people who are naive and in financial straits, getting them involved in this scourge. It cannot be that this kind of government, like the last one in Peru, go unpunished, having entered into complicity with the Judicial Branch. In other countries this is punished even with the death penalty. The United Nations should sanction those countries which might be led by these corrupt politicians, who poison world youth.

I know I will become subject to threats, given my constant criticisms of this corrupt Government, but if something happens to me or to my family, you know where it comes from. I have 7 cases before the courts, because a nephew cheated me in a business deal, it's been 5 years and nothing has been done. Who made this page Commander Otoya, it would be interesting to learn about your experiences and what you lived through because you were, I believe, unjustly incarcerated
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