Operation MARTILLO: U.S. and Canada Cooperate to Seize Cocaine

By Dialogo
April 14, 2015



The USS Kauffman partnered with the U.S. Coast Guard and the Royal Canadian Navy to seize 1,017 kilograms of cocaine off a vessel in the western Caribbean Sea in support of Operation MARTILLO.

U.S. and Canadian Naval forces captured eight crew members in connection with the cocaine, which had a wholesale value of about $33.9 million. Naval forces conducted the interdiction on February 28 after crew members of the Kauffman, which was conducting patrols in international waters, noticed a suspicious vessel.

The Kauffman deployed its U.S. Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment to board the vessel. However, the water grew rougher, making the interdiction more difficult. Canadian ships Goose Bay and Shawinigan arrived to help with the interdiction, and Naval forces found the cocaine in a hidden compartment.

Naval forces removed the cocaine and crew members from the vessel before the Kauffman sank the ship off the coast of Panama after determining it was in no condition to return to shore because it had taken on too much water.

Neither the U.S. nor Canada immediately reported the suspects’ identities nor which narcotrafficking or organized crime group was believed to be responsible for the cocaine.

The Kauffman, an Oliver Hazard Perry-class guided-missile frigate, is deployed to the 4th Fleet area of operations in support of Operation MARTILLO, a multinational mission to crack down on illicit drug trafficking routes in coastal waters along the Central American isthmus.

Operation MARTILLO 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.

Mexican Army, Navy, Federal Police capture an alleged top Sinaloa Cartel leader


The Mexican Army, Navy and Federal Police teamed to capture an alleged high-ranking leader of the Sinaloa Cartel in the city of Cancún. Security forces took him into custody as he tried to switch vehicles, apparently to evade law enforcement officers.

The suspect, alias "La Señora," "is accused of trafficking large quantities of cocaine via the Colombia-Honduras-Guatemala route into Mexico, with the final destination in the United States," National Security Commissioner Monte Alejandro Rubido told reporters. "[He] used an extensive criminal network that allowed him to run an organization capable of transporting many tons of drugs per week."

La Señora, who allegedly used a network of companies to assist in the drug-smuggling operation, is also wanted in Honduras, where he allegedly has close ties with the Los Valles organized crime group.

He had been on the U.S. Treasury Department’s most-wanted list since 2014 and is suspected of having close ties to the heads of the Sinaloa Cartel, including Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán. Mexican Marines captured El Chapo in February 2014.

The Sinaloa Cartel is a transnational criminal organization that’s one the world’s most powerful narco-trafficking groups.


The USS Kauffman partnered with the U.S. Coast Guard and the Royal Canadian Navy to seize 1,017 kilograms of cocaine off a vessel in the western Caribbean Sea in support of Operation MARTILLO.

U.S. and Canadian Naval forces captured eight crew members in connection with the cocaine, which had a wholesale value of about $33.9 million. Naval forces conducted the interdiction on February 28 after crew members of the Kauffman, which was conducting patrols in international waters, noticed a suspicious vessel.

The Kauffman deployed its U.S. Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment to board the vessel. However, the water grew rougher, making the interdiction more difficult. Canadian ships Goose Bay and Shawinigan arrived to help with the interdiction, and Naval forces found the cocaine in a hidden compartment.

Naval forces removed the cocaine and crew members from the vessel before the Kauffman sank the ship off the coast of Panama after determining it was in no condition to return to shore because it had taken on too much water.

Neither the U.S. nor Canada immediately reported the suspects’ identities nor which narcotrafficking or organized crime group was believed to be responsible for the cocaine.

The Kauffman, an Oliver Hazard Perry-class guided-missile frigate, is deployed to the 4th Fleet area of operations in support of Operation MARTILLO, a multinational mission to crack down on illicit drug trafficking routes in coastal waters along the Central American isthmus.

Operation MARTILLO 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.

Mexican Army, Navy, Federal Police capture an alleged top Sinaloa Cartel leader


The Mexican Army, Navy and Federal Police teamed to capture an alleged high-ranking leader of the Sinaloa Cartel in the city of Cancún. Security forces took him into custody as he tried to switch vehicles, apparently to evade law enforcement officers.

The suspect, alias "La Señora," "is accused of trafficking large quantities of cocaine via the Colombia-Honduras-Guatemala route into Mexico, with the final destination in the United States," National Security Commissioner Monte Alejandro Rubido told reporters. "[He] used an extensive criminal network that allowed him to run an organization capable of transporting many tons of drugs per week."

La Señora, who allegedly used a network of companies to assist in the drug-smuggling operation, is also wanted in Honduras, where he allegedly has close ties with the Los Valles organized crime group.

He had been on the U.S. Treasury Department’s most-wanted list since 2014 and is suspected of having close ties to the heads of the Sinaloa Cartel, including Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán. Mexican Marines captured El Chapo in February 2014.

The Sinaloa Cartel is a transnational criminal organization that’s one the world’s most powerful narco-trafficking groups.
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