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Navy Frigate Intercepts Drug Smugglers, Helps Rescue 26

American Forces Press Service

NAPLES, Italy, Aug. 27, 2006 – U.S. Navy frigate USS Boone intercepted a drug-smuggling speedboat Aug. 24 while enroute from Algeria to Spain during a patrol of the Mediterranean Sea south of the Spanish coastline.

According to U.S. Navy 6th Fleet officials, the crew abandoned its cargo—five packages of marijuana weighing 90 kilograms--when the USS Boone was sighted and entered Algerian territorial water. The Boone’s crew confiscated the marijuana.

A few hours later, near the same location, the USS Boone encountered two small rubber boats in apparent distress, officials said. The ship approached the boats and found 26 people on board. A Spanish Coast Guard vessel intervened to assist and rescued all 26 passengers, taking them ashore.

The USS Boone is part of the Standing NATO Maritime Group 1 and is currently participating in Operation Active Endeavor. The allied component maritime commander, Vice Admiral Roberto Cesaretti, who is responsible for the operation, sent his congratulations to the crew via the military code “Bravo Zulo” and stressed the importance of the operation.

Operation Active Endeavor is NATO's maritime contribution to the fight against terrorism. Launched in October 2001, it continues to conduct surveillance and monitoring operations of the major shipping lanes in the Mediterranean.

(From a U.S. European Command news release.)

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