MAYPORT, Fla. – The guided missile frigate USS Nicholas (FFG-47) and its embarked Miami-based Coast Guard Tactical Law Enforcement Team South offloaded more than 7,400 pounds of cocaine and 240 pounds of marijuana at Naval Station Mayport, July 17.
During the deployment, the Coast Guard law enforcement detachment and the Nicholas participated in multiple interdictions that kept 7.2 Million doses of cocaine, each the size of a sugar packet, off the streets of the United States. The narcotics offloaded had an estimated wholesale value of more than $90 million.
“The Coast Guard and Navy work closely with our partner nations everyday to interdict illegal narcotics trafficking the seas,” said Cmdr. Robert Landolfi, Tactical Law Enforcement Team South’s commanding officer. “Joint drug busts like this show that experience working together in action.”
The LEDET and the Nicholas were conducting counter transnational organized crime and counter drug operations throughout the Caribbean Sea and Eastern Pacific Oceans surrounding Central and South America in support of Operation Martillo. They worked closely with our partner nations during the patrol.
Operation Martillo – Spanish for “hammer” - is a component of the U.S. government's coordinated interagency regional security strategy in support of the White House strategy to combat transnational organized crime and the U.S. Central America Regional Security Initiative.
LEDETs are an armed deployable specialized force under the U.S. Coast Guard’s Deployable Operations Group. They were created to support narcotics interdiction operations aboard U.S. Navy and allied warships and are capable of supporting Department of Defense national defense operations. LEDETs provide specialized law enforcement capability and maritime security capabilities to enforce U.S. laws across a full spectrum of maritime response situations, maritime security augmentation and maritime interdiction anti-piracy operations.
The Joint Interagency Task Force, South, a component of the U.S. Southern Command, is responsible for the overall coordination of the counter-drug mission in the Caribbean and East Pacific U.S. maritime law enforcement and the interdiction phase of operations in the region occurs under the tactical control of the 7th Coast Guard District, based in Miami, or by law enforcement agencies of partner nations in the region.