JULY 8, 2015, PACIFIC OCEAN (NNS) – In collaboration with the U.S. Coast Guard, the Oliver Hazard Perry-class guided-missile frigate USS Kauffman (FFG 59) recovered approximately 775 kilograms of cocaine, worth an estimated wholesale value of approximately $15.5 million in international waters in the Eastern Pacific, June 2.
During a routine patrol of the Eastern Pacific in international waters in support of Operation Martillo, Kauffman’s embarked helicopter squadron, Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron Light (HSL) 60, spotted suspicious packages in the water. The bales were recovered by the crew aboard the rigid-hull inflatable boat and brought onto Kauffman for examination. Once on board, a U.S. Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment member identified the packages as cocaine and took custody of the cargo.
“The Sailors and Coast Guardsmen on this ship all work incredibly hard to keep these drugs from reaching home,” said Cmdr. Michael Concannon, commanding officer of Kauffman. “On days like today, we are able to see the results of that hard work.”
USS Kauffman is currently deployed to the U.S. 4th Fleet area of operations in support of Operation Martillo.
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.
Overall coordination of counter-drug patrols and surveillance in the Eastern Pacific is done by Joint Interagency Task Force South headquartered in Key West, Florida. U.S. maritime law enforcement and the interdiction phase of operations in the region occur under the tactical control of the 11th Coast Guard District headquartered in Alameda, California.
U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command and U.S. 4th Fleet support U.S. Southern Command’s joint and combined military operations by employing maritime forces in cooperative maritime security operations to maintain access, enhance interoperability and build enduring partnerships in order to enhance regional security and promote peace, stability and prosperity in the Caribbean, Central and South American regions.