The Coast Guard’s ships are truly multi-mission. From fishery patrols to national defense operations the service’s cutters stand as sentinels to our nation. While there are many missions the service conducts, there was only one on the minds of Coast Guard cutter Gallatin’s crew – drug interdiction. While on a law enforcement patrol in the western Caribbean Sea, Gallatin’s crew seized 2,200 pounds of cocaine worth an estimated value of $27 million. The crew of Gallatin located a 68-foot fishing vessel in the western Caribbean Sea, April 18, 2013, and launched their response boat. The response boat crew boarded the vessel, locating the cocaine and detaining three suspected smugglers. “Coast Guard Cutter Gallatin’s most recent interdictions are a testament to the hard work and tenacity of the crew,” said Capt. Caleb Corson, Gallatin’s commanding officer. “Their dedication and drive to succeed make Gallatin a formidable asset for the Coast Guard in its mission to prevent the smuggling of illegal drugs into the U.S.”
This interdiction was carried out as part of Operation Martillo, one component in the United States government’s approach to countering the use of the Central American waters as transshipment routes for illicit drugs, weapons and cash. The operation is an international one, focused on sharing information and bringing together air, land and maritime assets from the U.S. Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security and Western Hemisphere and European partner nation agencies to counter this illicit trafficking. “Working with our interagency and international partners, we detained three suspected smugglers and prevented 2,200 pounds of cocaine with a value of $27 million from reaching our streets,” said Rear Adm. William D. Baumgartner, 7th Coast Guard District commander. “While this particular drug seizure is a great success for our interagency partnerships, our focus remains on preventing the harm illicit drugs bring to our communities.”
The contraband, suspected smugglers and fishing vessel were later transferred to crewmembers aboard Coast Guard Cutter Bernard C. Webber, a 154-foot fast response cutter. Bernard C. Webber’s crew offloaded the 2,200 pounds of cocaine at Base Miami Beach. The three suspects and fishing vessel were transferred to Federal Bureau of Investigation agents in Miami while the seized contraband was transferred to U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency agents.