US Navy’s Oliver Hazard Perry-class guided-missile frigate USS Gary (FFG 51), her embarked helicopter squadron and a U.S. Coast Guard law enforcement detachment (LEDET) operating in support of Operation Martillo seized more than 1644 kilograms of cocaine and rescued four people adrift at sea in December in international waters off the coast of Central America.
This marks Gary’s sixth successful interception in recent months, disrupting an approximated total of 4,100 kilograms of cocaine shipments in the region.
While conducting routine flight operations, one of Gary’s SH-60B Sea Hawk helicopters from Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron Light (HSL) 49 Detachment 4 was tasked to detect a “Go Fast” vessel traveling in the area.
As Gary’s SH-60B helicopter crew searched for the vessel they discovered a debris field floating in the water which Gary maneuvered to investigate.
Once in the vicinity, Gary identified the debris as floating contraband. Gary slowed to deploy her rigid hull inflatable boat (RHIB) with a joint Coast Guard LEDET and Navy boat crew as lookouts on the ship continued to scan the water for further debris.
One of those lookouts spotted four people floating in the water holding onto a makeshift raft.
The four individuals in the water were recovered and brought aboard the frigate.
Operation Martillo, a joint, international law enforcement and military operation involving the U.S., European and Western Hemisphere partner nations, targets illicit trafficking routes in the waters off Central America.
Press release, Image: US Navy