USS MCINERNEY, At Sea (NNS) -- USS McInerney (FFG 8) and attached U.S. Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment (LEDET) 404 seized a submarine vessel carrying seven tons of cocaine off the coast of Guatemala Sept. 13.
In the early morning hours, McInerney and LEDET 404, in collaboration with Patrol Squadron (VP) 26's Combat Air Crew 12, successfully interdicted a Self-Propelled Semi-Submersible (SPSS) vessel carrying an estimated $107 million worth of cocaine 350 miles east of Guatemala.
When the team boarded the vessel, the alleged smugglers attempted to throw them in the water by quickly reversing the engines, and tried to drown any evidence by opening a valve whose sole purpose was to completely submerge (scuttle) both the SPSS and any drugs inside. Both attempts failed and the combined team successfully boarded and secured the vessel.
After a full day of inventory and information gathering, four suspected illicit-traffickers and over seven metric tons of cocaine were removed from the SPSS.
Information gathered during McInerney's interdiction, and other similar drug busts, help complete the mission of U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) to prevent trafficking of illicit drugs throughout the SOUTHCOM area of focus, which encompasses Central and South America, the Caribbean and surrounding waters.
McInerney, homeported in Mayport, Fla., and VP 26, based in Brunswick, Maine, are currently deployed under operational control of U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command (NAVSO)/U.S. Fourth Fleet, conducting counter-illicit trafficking operations for Joint Interagency Task Force-South in the SOUTHCOM area of focus.
As the Naval Component Command of SOUTHCOM, NAVSO's mission is to direct U.S. Naval Forces operating in the Caribbean, Central and South American regions and interact with partner nation navies within the maritime environment. Various operations include counter-illicit trafficking, Theater Security Cooperation, Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief, military-to-military interaction and bilateral and multinational training.
Fourth Fleet is the numbered fleet assigned to NAVSO, exercising operational control of assigned forces in the SOUTHCOM area of focus.
For more news from Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command - U.S. 4th Fleet, visit www.navy.mil/local/cusns/.