USS FREEDOM, At Sea (NNS) -- The littoral combat ship USS Freedom (LCS 1) achieved its third drug seizure March 11, disrupting a high-speed "go-fast" vessel and recovering 2 1/4 tons of cocaine during counter-illicit trafficking (CIT) operations in U.S. 4th Fleet's Area of Responsibility.
While patrolling with embarked Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 22, the Litorral Combat Ship Surface Warfare Mission Package and U.S. Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment, Freedom detected a suspected drug vessel and began pursuit at high speed.
Freedom deployed a response team of Sailors and Coast Guardsmen to intercept the vessel, which jettisoned its illicit cargo in the southern Caribbean Sea.
An MH-60S Sea Hawk from Freedom forced the go-fast to beach itself. Local officials later confiscated the vessel.
The Navy-Coast Guard response team recovered 72 bales of cocaine, weighing 2,127 kilos (4,680 pounds), from the water.
Freedom's third successful drug interdiction was made possible by the coordinated actions of the Navy, U.S. Coast Guard District 7 and Joint Interagency Task Force-South (JIATF-S).
During its first two successful CIT seizures in the Caribbean, Feb. 22 and March 3, Freedom seized a total of one "go-fast" vessel, five suspects and more than 1,700 kilos of cocaine.
Freedom, which will be homeported in San Diego, is currently on its maiden deployment in the Caribbean and the coasts of Central and South America under the operational control of U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/U.S. 4th Fleet. Freedom is conducting CIT operations in support of JIATF-S, U.S. Southern Command and Coast Guard District 7.
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