August 18, 2022

Navy PC Zephyr and Coast Guard make $22.5M bust in Caribbean

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By: Mark D. Faram from Navy Times

In the Navy’s version of the popular TV show, “Deadliest Catch,” the coastal patrol vessel Zephyr and its embarked Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment have made a large haul of illicit drugs.
The Zephyr, along with the Karel Doorman-class multi-purpose frigate HNLMS Van Amstel of the Royal Netherlands Navy, pursued and boarded a small panga fishing boat in the Caribbean Sea on April 19. The crews found and confiscated 750 kilograms of cocaine — a total street value of $22.5 million.
“Today’s success was due to the high professionalism and cohesive integration of the Zephyr crew and USCG LEDET,” said Lt. Cmdr. Cameron Ingram, Zephyr’s commanding officer, according to a Navy press release.
Zephyr is homeported in Mayport, Florida, and is currently deployed in the Caribbean in support of Operation Martillo, an ongoing joint service and multi-nation operation headed by the U.S. Southern Command and the Navy’s Mayport-based U.S. 4th Fleet.
Martillo, Spanish for “hammer,” targets illicit trafficking routes in coastal waters along the Central American coastline.
Fourteen countries are participating in the operation: Belize, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, France, Guatemala, Honduras, the Netherlands, Nicaragua, Panama, Spain, United Kingdom and the United States. Chile has also contributed to the operation.
In the five years since its 2012 launch, Martillo has supported the seizure of 693 metric tons of cocaine, $25 million in bulk cash, 581 vessels and aircraft and the arrest of 1,863 detainees, according to the U.S. Southern Command.
IMAGE: Photo Credit: MC3 (SW/AW) Casey J. Hopkins/U.S. Navy
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