US Navy destroyer makes second eastern Pacific drugs bust

The US Navy’s Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS Pinckney (DDG 91) with embarked US Coast Guard (USCG) Law Enforcement Detachment (LEDET) team seized over 2,700 kilograms of suspected cocaine in the eastern Pacific Ocean on May 16.

The interdiction came only two days after Pinckney seized an estimated 1.5 tons of cocaine in the region.

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In the May 16 operation, after a US Navy maritime patrol aircraft (MPA), assigned to the “Tridents” of Patrol Squadron VP 26, first spotted the low profile vessel (LPV), Pinckney was vectored for a long range intercept. 

Upon interception, Pinckney employed one of her embarked helicopters, assigned to the “Wolf Pack” of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 75, to provide over watch and ensure compliance while the embarked LEDET on Pinckney small boats achieved positive control of the LPV. 

Photo: US Navy

Pinckney and the embarked LEDET recovered a total of 136 bales of suspected cocaine totaling an estimated 2,700 kilograms, with a potential wholesale value worth over $54.3 million.

“This bust demonstrated the flexibility of the multiple ships and aircraft conducting counter-narcotics operations in the Eastern Pacific,” said Cmdr Andrew Roy, Pinckney’s Commanding Officer. 

“The entire team executed with professionalism and precision to help get drugs on deck.” 

The 155-meter USS Pinckney is deployed to the US Fourth Fleet area of operations conducting U.S Southern Command and Joint Interagency Task Force South’s enhanced counter drug operations missions in the Caribbean and Eastern Pacific.

On April 1, US Southern Command began enhanced counter-narcotics operations in the Western Hemisphere to disrupt the flow of drugs in support of Presidential National Security Objectives.

Numerous U.S. agencies from the Departments of Defense, Justice and Homeland Security cooperated in the effort to combat transnational organized crime.

U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/U.S. 4th Fleet supports 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.

Photo: Photo: US Navy