Operation MARTILLO seizes more than 1,000 kilograms of cocaine
By Dialogo May 01, 2014
ALAMEDA, U.S.A. – The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Active seized an estimated 1,043 kilograms of cocaine in international waters of the Eastern Pacific Ocean about 225 kilometers off the coast of Panama as part of Operation MARTILLO in late March. The cocaine was valued at about US$37 million.
The USCG Cutter Active, home ported in Port Angeles, Wash., was on a routine patrol in the region when it was directed to intercept a suspicious Panamanian fishing vessel sighted earlier by a U.S. Customs and Border Protection P-3 aircraft. A Coast Guard boarding team was launched as Active approached the fishing vessel. During an inspection of the vessel, the boarding team discovered more than 40 burlap sacks filled with cocaine. The fishing boat, the contraband, and five suspected smugglers were turned over to Panamanian authorities.
“I am extremely proud of this crew. They have continually lived up to the cutter’s nickname, the ‘Li’l Tough Guy’,” Cmdr. Philip Crigler, Active’s commanding officer, said in a prepared statement. “Through their tenacity we have had great success on this patrol keeping illegal drugs from reaching the shores of the United States.”
Operation MARTILLO is a multinational effort that includes Canada, Belize, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, France, Guatemala, Honduras, the Netherlands, Nicaragua, Panama, Spain, the United Kingdom and the Unites States. It strives to disrupt transnational criminal organizations by limiting their ability to use Central America as a transit zone.
[USSOUTHCOM (United States), 24/04/2014; US Coast Guard (United States), 23/04/2014; Military.com (United States), 24/04/2014]