The crew of the Portsmouth-based Coast Guard Cutter Northland is scheduled to return to Base Portsmouth Thursday evening following a 63-day patrol deployment in the Caribbean Sea in support of Operation Martillo and Caribe Venture.
While on patrol, on July 8, the Northland detected the suspicious 68-foot motor vessel An-Nur transiting the Caribbean Sea with five crewmembers onboard. While conducting a boarding of the vessel, Northland’s boarding team discovered 3,591 pounds of marijuana. The Northland seized the drugs and transferred them and the five suspected smugglers to the FBI’s Caribbean Corridor Strike Force and the U.S. Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico for prosecution.
“Maritime interdictions at sea are the most efficient and cost-effective way to keep drugs off the streets,” said Lt. Paul Windt, Northland’s operations officer. “These interdictions help reduce the destabilizing effects illicit trafficking has on our Central American and Caribbean neighbors. This drug bust was a great morale boost for the crew and represented their hard work and dedication in executing the counterdrug mission.”
Operation Martillo is a joint, interagency and multi-national collaborative effort among Western Hemisphere and European nations. The operation is designed to deny Transnational Criminal Organizations air and maritime access to the littoral regions of the Central American isthmus.
Operation Caribe Venture supports Joint Interagency Task Force South by focusing on illicit drug trafficking in the Central Caribbean. It is an international operation led by the Commander Netherlands Forces in the Caribbean. U.S. Coast Guard and U.S Navy units assigned to JIATF South participate in this operation, often alongside Dutch Navy and Dutch Caribbean Coast Guard assets.
Northland is a 270-foot Medium Endurance Cutter home ported out of Portsmouth. This class of cutter routinely deploys to the Caribbean Sea in support of the counter-drug mission.