The Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS Preble (DDG 88) with embarked U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) Law Enforcement Detachment (LEDET) team seized 100 bales of suspected cocaine worth over $40 million, June 2.
After a U.S. Navy maritime patrol aircraft (MPA), assigned to the “Tridents” of Patrol Squadron VP 26, first spotted the low profile go fast vessel (LPGFV), Preble was vectored in for a long range intercept. Upon interception, Preble employed one of its embarked helicopters, assigned to the “Easy Riders” of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 37, to provide over watch and ensure compliance while the embarked LEDET and small boats achieved positive control of the LPGFV.
The Preble with their embarked LEDET recovered 100 bales of suspected cocaine totaling an estimated 2,000 kilograms, worth over an estimated wholesale value of $40 million.
“This interdiction and drug seizure was a big win for our Navy and Coast Guard team,” said U.S. Navy Commander Leonardo Giovannelli, USS Preble commanding officer. “Not only did we flex our sensors and communications suite, but our combat team was able to work across the interagency and contribute directly to a major line of operation with tangible results.”
USS Preble is deployed to the U.S. Fourth Fleet area of operations conducting U.S Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) and Joint Interagency Task Force South’s enhanced counter drug operations missions in the Caribbean and Eastern Pacific.
On April 1, SOUTHCOM began enhanced counternarcotics operations in the Western Hemisphere to disrupt the flow of drugs in support of Presidential National Security Objectives.
Numerous U.S. agencies from the departments of Defense, Justice, and Homeland Security cooperated in the effort to combat transnational organized crime. The Coast Guard, U.S. Navy, Customs and Border Protection, FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement, along with allied and international partner agencies, play a role in counter-drug operations.
U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/U.S. 4th Fleet supports SOUTHCOM’s joint and combined military operations by employing maritime forces in cooperative maritime security operations to maintain access, enhance interoperability, and build enduring partnerships in order to enhance regional security and promote peace, stability, and prosperity in the Caribbean, Central and South American region.