Operation MARTILLO: U.S. Coast Guard, Law Enforcement Teams Seize More than 32 Tons of Cocaine

Operation MARTILLO: U.S. Coast Guard, Law Enforcement Teams Seize More than 32 Tons of Cocaine

By Dialogo
August 27, 2015

My friend Barack Obama should award those responsible for the huge seizure against drug trafficking cartels. The price with regard to the monetary value of cocaine comes about because of and according to the difficulty of its distribution and sales, and that is precisely where the interest in selling it lies. If it were valued to the contrary, as happens currently with oil, there would be significant interest in bringing it to market. In other words, precisely the cost of that product lies, in terms of its marketing – higher volume, lower price – everything stems from controlling its marketing, to make this product as unmarketable as possible, in other words, having more product on the market than demand. How to achieve this? By increasing production and controlling it up to the moment it is used. In other words, with higher production, a surplus of product, versus production. What do you think?

Under the auspices of Operation MARTILLO, a counter drug initiative involving 15 countries from the Americas and Europe, U.S. Coast Guard cutters and law enforcement teams operating in the Eastern Pacific Ocean have seized more than 32 tons of cocaine, valued at more than $1 billion, in less than three months.

The drugs were off-loaded on August 10 in San Diego, California, marking the biggest such event in U.S. history and a major blow to transnational criminal organizations in Central America according to Admiral Paul F. Zukunft, Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard.

“What fuels their [transnational criminal organizations operating in Central America] economy is this illicit contraband that will be off-loaded today. This is depriving them of the means to operate and the means to undermine regional stability, which is causing young boys and girls to flee crime-ridden countries to find refuge here in the United States.”

Coast Guard Cutter Stratton interdicted nearly half of the 32-ton drug cargo. The high-tech vessel, which was christened in 2010, is capable of using real-time intelligence to intercept speedboats and pangas,
outboard-powered fishing boats organized crime groups use to transport drugs; it's also effective against semi-submersibles, which account for 32 percent of the cocaine smuggled into the U.S. through maritime routes, according to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

During a 114-day anti-drug patrol as part of Operation MARTILLO, the Stratton crew interdicted two self-propelled semi-submersibles and six other vessels. In June, the Stratton interdicted a semi-submersible carrying almost 2.5 tons of cocaine. About a month later, on July 18, the Stratton’s boarding team took control of another semi-submersible, which was loaded with almost 8.4 tons of uncut cocaine, valued at approximately $250 million.

The work of the Stratton and other anti-drug vessels, as well as the ongoing cooperation among partner nations and the U.S., has contributed to a significant rise in drug interdictions: since October 2014, the U.S. Coast Guard has seized nearly 54 tons of drugs, more than in the past three years combined, according to Michael Anderson, a U.S. Coast Guard spokesperson.

“We’re constantly evolving our patrol strategies to meet the threat of criminal trafficking. We continue to build upon our regional partnerships to help us accomplish our goals of increasing the stability of the Western Hemisphere.”

Drug interdictions are a crucial part of the fight against transnational criminal organizations, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.

The proceeds from drug trafficking fund transnational criminal organizations, which can ultimately cost the U.S economy $200 billion in losses annually, according to Adm. Zukunft. Consequently, it's important that security forces remain vigilant.

“There is still work to be done,” Adm. Zukunft said in a statement. “We must increase already hard-earned momentum to curb the rising tide of crime, violence and instability in our hemisphere.”

Operation MARTILLO combines the forces of 15 countries in the Americas – , Canada, and the U.S. – 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.