Dutch, US warships collaborate on drug bust

Cocaine-carrying panga is intercepted on April 18, 2017. Photo: US Navy

U.S. and Dutch Navy ships made a cocaine bust while on patrol conducting Operation Martillo in the Caribbean Sea on April 19.

Cyclone-class patrol coastal ship USS Zephyr (PC 8), its embarked U.S. Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment (LEDET), along with Dutch Karel Doorman-class multi-purpose frigate HNLMS Van Amstel, pursued and boarded a small fishing vessel, called a panga, and interdicted 750 kilograms of cocaine with a total street value of $22.5 million.

“Today’s success was due to the high professionalism and cohesive integration of the Zephyr crew and USCG LEDET” said Lt. Cmdr. Cameron Ingram, Zephyr’s commanding officer.

Zephyr, homeported in Mayport, Florida, is currently underway in support of Operation Martillo, a joint operation with the U.S. Coast Guard and partner nations within the U.S. 4th Fleet area of operations.

Operation Martillo (Spanish for ‘hammer’) targets illicit trafficking routes in coastal waters along the Central American isthmus, and is an international, interagency operation that includes the participation of 17 countries committed to a regional approach against transnational organized crime moving illicit cargo.

U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command and U.S. 4th Fleet support U.S. Southern Command’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 regions.

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