USS Ingraham, USCGC Boutwell Stop Cocaine Shipment

Sailors and Coastguardsmen disrupted a shipment of cocaine illegally trafficked in the 4th Fleet area of responsibility, Aug. 25.

Members of guided-missile frigate USS Ingraham (FFG 61) and U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Boutwell (WHEC-719) with Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron Light (HSL) 49 Detachment 2 and U.S. Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment (LEDET) personnel participated in the operation.

During routine patrolling off the coast of Guatemala, Ingraham and Boutwell were vectored to intercept a suspicious go-fast vessel detected by a maritime patrol aircraft.

Upon discovery by one of Ingraham’s SH-60B Seahawk helicopters, the crew of the vessel swiftly jettisoned an estimated 550 kilograms of cocaine and attempted to flee. The vessel was finally compelled to stop after several rounds of warning shots were fired by a Coast Guard marksman aboard Ingraham’s helicopter.

U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) Law Enforcement Detachment (LEDET) personnel boarded the go-fast, conducted a full search of the vessel and apprehend three drug smugglers.

Ingraham has disrupted approximately 11,937 kilograms of cocaine during her deployment. This was her 14th successful interdiction since arriving in 4th Fleet in support of Operation Martillo.

Under the international counter illicit trafficking initiative called Operation Martillo. U.S. military, Coast Guard, law enforcement agencies, and regional partner nation law enforcement agencies patrol the waters in the Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico, and the Eastern Pacific on a year-round basis in an effort to detect, monitor, and interdict illicit traffickers.

During at-sea busts in international waters, a suspect vessel is initially located and tracked by U.S. military or law enforcement aircraft or vessels. The actual interdictions – boarding, search, seizures and arrests – are led and conducted by U.S. Coast Guard LEDETs or partner nation law enforcement agencies.

U.S. maritime law enforcement and the interdiction phase of counter-smuggling operations in the Eastern Pacific occurs under the tactical control of the 11th Coast Guard District headquartered in Alameda, California.

Image: US Navy