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Navy Ship Takes Down Drug Vessel, Seizes 1.5 Tons of Cocaine

May 22, 2020

The guided-missile destroyer USS Pinckney, with an embarked U.S. Coast Guard law enforcement detachment team, seized an estimated 3,000 pounds of cocaine in the eastern Pacific Ocean.

In the May 14 operation, a U.S. Navy maritime patrol aircraft assigned to the "Tridents" of Patrol Squadron 26 spotted the low-profile vessel. The Pinckney, with embarked helicopters assigned to the "Wolf Pack" of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 75 and the embarked Coast Guard team moved into position to intercept the vessel.

U.S. service members on an inflatable boat alongside a drug-running vessel.
Ocean Ops
The guided-missile destroyer USS Pinckney, with an embarked U.S. Coast Guard law enforcement detachment team, conducts enhanced counternarcotics operations in the eastern Pacific Ocean, recovering an estimated 3,000 pounds of cocaine, May 14, 2020. The Pinckney is deployed to the U.S. Southern Command area of responsibility to support Joint Interagency Task Force South’s mission, which includes countering illicit drug trafficking in the Caribbean Sea and the eastern Pacific.
Photo By: Coast Guard
VIRIN: 200515-N-N3754-1075M

They recovered 70 bales of cocaine worth more than $28 million in wholesale value.

"This was truly a team effort," Navy Cmdr. Andrew Roy, USS Pinckney's commanding officer, said. "The air support we received was first class. We were able to safely and successfully conduct this operation due to the outstanding professionalism of the Navy-Coast Guard team."

The USS Pinckney is deployed to the U.S. 4th Fleet area of operations conducting U.S Southern Command and Joint Interagency Task Force South's enhanced counterdrug operations missions in the Caribbean Sea and the Eastern Pacific.

On April 1, U.S. Southern Command began enhanced counternarcotics operations in the Western Hemisphere to disrupt the flow of drugs in support of presidential national security objectives.

In the foreground, a drug-running vessel at sea with a U.S. guided-missile destroyer in the background.
Ocean Ops
The guided-missile destroyer USS Pinckney, with an embarked U.S. Coast Guard law enforcement detachment team conducts enhanced counternarcotics operations in the eastern Pacific Ocean, recovering an estimated 3,000 pounds of cocaine, May 14, 2020. The Pinckney is deployed to the U.S. Southern Command area of responsibility to support Joint Interagency Task Force South’s mission, which includes countering illicit drug trafficking in the Caribbean Sea and the eastern Pacific.
Photo By: Coast Guard
VIRIN: 200515-N-N3764-002M

Numerous U.S. agencies from the departments of Defense, Justice and Homeland Security cooperated in the effort to combat transnational organized crime, officials said. The Coast Guard, the Navy, Customs and Border Protection, the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement, along with allied and international partner agencies, play a role in counterdrug operations, they added.

U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/U.S. 4th Fleet supports Southcom'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 and Central and South American regions.