USS DE WERT, At Sea (NNS) -- While on patrol in the Eastern Pacific Ocean, units assigned to the U.S. Navy's 4th Fleet and the U.S. Coast Guard intercepted a fishing vessel carrying over three metric tons of cocaine Sept. 20.
The combined team of USS De Wert (FFG 45), with embarked helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron Light 46 Detachment 1, and U.S. Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment (LEDET) 101 intercepted the fishing vessel in a nighttime interdiction, capturing seven suspected narcotics smugglers and the large cargo of cocaine with an estimated import value of $96 million.
While De Wert was coming alongside the fishing vessel experienced a mechanical problem and LEDET 101 and De Wert's Rescue and Assistance Team were deployed to render assistance and to ensure the safety of the vessel's crew. Subsequent to the rendering of assistance, a search of the vessel revealed 145 bales of cocaine. The narcotics were seized under the authority of the Coast Guard LEDET.
This seizure comes just a week after Sailors from USS McInerney (FFG 8) and LEDET 404, in conjunction with Patrol Squadron 26, intercepted a self-propelled semi submersible in the Eastern Pacific Ocean carrying over seven metric tons of cocaine.
The coordinated actions of the U.S. Navy, U.S. Coast Guard, and Joint Interagency Task Force-South (JIATF-S) were instrumental to the successful interdiction of narcotics.
De Wert, homeported in Mayport, Fla., is deployed in Latin America under the operational control of U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/ U.S. 4th Fleet, conducting counter illicit trafficking operations in support of JIATF-South, U.S. law enforcement and participating nations drug control policy.
De Wert is also supporting the U.S. Maritime Strategy by conducting theater security cooperation events, such as community relation projects Project Handclasp distributions, in the Caribbean and Latin America.
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For more information on U.S. Coast Guard Law Enforcement, visit http://uscg.mil/top/missions/M_Security.asp.
For more news from Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command, visit www.navy.mil/local/cusns/.