USS Ingraham succeeds in supporting Operación MARTILLO

By Dialogo
October 23, 2014



The USS Ingraham has made quite an impact supporting Operación MARTILLO, a multinational mission to crack down on illicit drug trafficking routes in coastal waters along the Central American isthmus.

Since it arrived in the region in March to assist the 4th Fleet, the guided-missile frigate has recorded 14 successful interdictions, preventing about 11,937 kilograms of cocaine from reaching the street. The vessel’s crew has made a number of large seizures. For example, on August 25 the crew seized 550 kilograms from a go-fast boat off the coast of Guatemala.

The Ingraham and the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Boutwell were on patrol when their commanders were notified by a maritime aircraft of a suspicious vessel.

The crew of the suspect boat threw the cocaine overboard and tried to flee after seeing the Ingraham’s helicopters approaching. But the vessel halted when warning shots were fired by a U.S. Coast Guard marksman from the helicopter, enabling a U.S. Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment team (LEDET) to board the boat and arrest the three suspected narco-traffickers.

“I could not be more proud of my crew,” said Cmdr. Dan Straub, the USS Ingraham’s commanding officer. “The operational tempo has been high for our entire deployment and Ingraham sailors have done a fantastic job.”

“It has also been a unique opportunity to get to work with so many diverse assets here in Fourth Fleet: three different LEDETs, two USCG Cutters, two other U.S. Navy Frigates and three helicopter detachments. The integration is exceptional.”

Between July and October, Operación MARTILLO seized about 14 tons of cocaine, worth an estimated $423 million (USD). The seized cocaine was offloaded at Naval Base San Diego, in the state of California, on October 6. During those four months, the Boutwell made six interdictions, seizing more than 2,267 kilograms of cocaine worth more than $75 million (USD). Its crew captured 19 alleged drug smugglers.

The Coast Guard Cutter Bertholf, the USS McClusky, the USS Vandegrift, the Ingraham, the Coast Guard Tactical Law Enforcement Team South from Miami, Fla., and Coast Guard Helicopter Interdiction Tactical Squadron from Jacksonville, Fla., also made seizures and detained 36 additional alleged smugglers in the Eastern Pacific.

In 2013, the forces of Operación MARTILLO seized 131 metric tons of cocaine, more than 32,000 pounds of marijuana, and 4,000 grams of heroin, in addition to capturing 295 suspects.

The operation combines the forces of 10 countries in the Americas – Belize, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panamá, Canada, and the United States – along with France, the Netherlands, Spain and the United Kingdom. These countries work together to share information and use their air, land, and maritime forces to counter illicit trafficking by limiting the use of Central America as a transit area.

Under Operación MARTILLO the U.S. military, Coast Guard, regional partner nation military forces and law enforcement agencies work together to constantly patrol the Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico and the Eastern Pacific to locate and bust drug traffickers. At-sea interdictions are highly coordinated. After a suspicious boat is identified by a participating nation, a U.S. Coast Guard LEDET or partner nation law enforcement agency carries out the boarding and searching of the vessel, in addition to making arrests.


The USS Ingraham has made quite an impact supporting Operación MARTILLO, a multinational mission to crack down on illicit drug trafficking routes in coastal waters along the Central American isthmus.

Since it arrived in the region in March to assist the 4th Fleet, the guided-missile frigate has recorded 14 successful interdictions, preventing about 11,937 kilograms of cocaine from reaching the street. The vessel’s crew has made a number of large seizures. For example, on August 25 the crew seized 550 kilograms from a go-fast boat off the coast of Guatemala.

The Ingraham and the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Boutwell were on patrol when their commanders were notified by a maritime aircraft of a suspicious vessel.

The crew of the suspect boat threw the cocaine overboard and tried to flee after seeing the Ingraham’s helicopters approaching. But the vessel halted when warning shots were fired by a U.S. Coast Guard marksman from the helicopter, enabling a U.S. Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment team (LEDET) to board the boat and arrest the three suspected narco-traffickers.

“I could not be more proud of my crew,” said Cmdr. Dan Straub, the USS Ingraham’s commanding officer. “The operational tempo has been high for our entire deployment and Ingraham sailors have done a fantastic job.”

“It has also been a unique opportunity to get to work with so many diverse assets here in Fourth Fleet: three different LEDETs, two USCG Cutters, two other U.S. Navy Frigates and three helicopter detachments. The integration is exceptional.”

Between July and October, Operación MARTILLO seized about 14 tons of cocaine, worth an estimated $423 million (USD). The seized cocaine was offloaded at Naval Base San Diego, in the state of California, on October 6. During those four months, the Boutwell made six interdictions, seizing more than 2,267 kilograms of cocaine worth more than $75 million (USD). Its crew captured 19 alleged drug smugglers.

The Coast Guard Cutter Bertholf, the USS McClusky, the USS Vandegrift, the Ingraham, the Coast Guard Tactical Law Enforcement Team South from Miami, Fla., and Coast Guard Helicopter Interdiction Tactical Squadron from Jacksonville, Fla., also made seizures and detained 36 additional alleged smugglers in the Eastern Pacific.

In 2013, the forces of Operación MARTILLO seized 131 metric tons of cocaine, more than 32,000 pounds of marijuana, and 4,000 grams of heroin, in addition to capturing 295 suspects.

The operation combines the forces of 10 countries in the Americas – Belize, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panamá, Canada, and the United States – along with France, the Netherlands, Spain and the United Kingdom. These countries work together to share information and use their air, land, and maritime forces to counter illicit trafficking by limiting the use of Central America as a transit area.

Under Operación MARTILLO the U.S. military, Coast Guard, regional partner nation military forces and law enforcement agencies work together to constantly patrol the Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico and the Eastern Pacific to locate and bust drug traffickers. At-sea interdictions are highly coordinated. After a suspicious boat is identified by a participating nation, a U.S. Coast Guard LEDET or partner nation law enforcement agency carries out the boarding and searching of the vessel, in addition to making arrests.
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