Operation Martillo continues to lead counter-narcotics fight
By Dialogo January 27, 2014
MIAMI, U.S.A. – Operation Martillo has confiscated 278,611 kilograms of cocaine and 27,556 kilograms of marijuana during its 444 events that have led to 620 arrests and 205 seized vessels since the multinational effort was launched in January 2012.
Operation Martillo has removed US$5.6 billion in narcotics and equipment from the global drug trade, a major accomplishment for the international mission that gathers 14 partner nations to curtail illicit trafficking routes on both coasts of the Central American isthmus.
Operation Martillo, which is led by the U.S. Joint Interagency Task Force South and includes Canada, Belize, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, France, Guatemala, Honduras, the Netherlands, Nicaragua, Panama, Spain, and the United Kingdom, strives to disrupt transnational criminal organizations by limiting their ability to use Central America as a transit zone.
The key to Operation Martillo’s success has been countries working together toward a common goal: to curtail narco-trafficking and the violence it brings. More than 67% of all seizures involve partner nation assistance or support.
Operation Martillo partners recently agreed to continue to address regional transnational criminal threats, improve communication and information sharing, and remain firmly committed to denying Transnational Criminal Organizations the air and maritime access needed to move their illicit cargo.
“Overall, this mission has a high operational tempo. It’s up to us to keep the pressure on,” Cmdr. Lance Lantier, the USS Rentz’s commanding officer, said in a prepared statement, as his ship has confiscated 3,000 kilograms of cocaine during the past four months. “The success of [our most recent] operation reflects our continued commitment to countering the flow of illegal narcotics while maintaining a forceful presence.”
Recently, the U.S. teamed with British Royal Navy to seize a huge shipment of marijuana from a dilapidated fishing vessel in the Caribbean on Dec. 26. The Royal Fleet Auxiliary Wave Knight, a British ship carrying U.S. Coast Guard and Royal Navy personnel, boarded the shipping vessel – called the Miss Kameney – after an overnight chase.
Aboard the vessel, officers recovered about 250 kilograms of marijuana hidden in sacks and a crew of five suspects, who were detained and turned over to U.S. authorities in the Dominican Republic. Officials estimated the shipment’s value at more than US$1.5 million.
“The work of the Royal Navy across the globe and, in particular, in the Caribbean on counter- narcotics operations is vital to protecting the United Kingdom,” the Royal Navy said in a prepared statement. “The interdiction, disruption and deterrence operations by ships of both the Royal Navy and Royal Fleet Auxiliary in the Caribbean all contribute to stemming the flow of illicit drugs from South America into the Caribbean, and onwards to the streets of the UK and the U.S.”