One of USS Vandegrift’s SH-60B Sea Hawk helicopters, from Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron Light (HSL) 49, located a small suspicious vessel in a known drug trafficking area, Vandegrift’s crew was able to further track and locate the vessel in order deploy an interceptor boat team.
The Eleventh Coast Guard District directed the Vandegrift to deploy its joint Coast Guard LEDET/Navy Visit Board Search and Seizure (VBSS) boat crew to intercept the vessel. Upon boarding, the LEDET searched the vessel, discovering evidence of illegal trafficking. Further investigation uncovered more than 500 bricks of cocaine in connection with the vessel.
This marks Vandegrift’s fifth successful smuggling interception in recent months, disrupting approximately 8,700 pounds of cocaine shipments off the coast of Central America.
Vandegrift is currently deployed to the 4th Fleet area of operations in support of Operation Martillo, which began in Jan. 2012.
Press release, Image: US Navy