USS Vandegrift (FFG 48), the Oliver Hazard Perry-class guided-missile frigate, along with a U.S. Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment (USCG LEDET) interdicted almost 2,000 pounds of cocaine being smuggled in a small vessel Nov. 20 while on patrol in international waters off the coast of Central America.
Vandegrift located a small vessel while on patrol in a known drug trafficking area and proceeded to launch one of Vandegrift’s SH-60B Sea Hawk helicopters, flown by Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron Light (HSL) 49, to further locate and identify the vessel.
Plotting an intercept course, Vandegrift was able to approach the vessel for further inspection.
The 11th Coast Guard District directed Vandegrift to deploy it’s USCG LEDET. Upon boarding, the LEDET searched the vessel and discovered large amounts of fuel and other evidence of illicit drug trafficking. Upon further investigation, 14 bales of contraband were discovered on board and all tested positive for cocaine.
This marks Vandegrift’s ninth successful smuggling interdiction in recent months, disrupting the distribution of approximately 13,000 pounds of illicit drugs off the coast of Central America.
Press release, Image: US Navy