The U.S. Coast Guardsmen offloaded more than 28,000 pounds (12.7 tonnes) of cocaine at Naval Base San Diego confiscated during their 90-day deployment in counter drug missions off the coast of Central and South America as part of Operation Martillo
The crew of Cutter Boutwell turned the cocaine, worth more than USD 423 million wholesale, over to agents from the Drug Enforcement Agency. The drugs were seized and 55 suspects were apprehended during 18 separate interdictions by U.S. Coast Guard and Navy forces.
Six of the interdictions were made by the crew of the Cutter Boutwell who received the Coast Guard Meritorious Unit Commendation for their role in the operation. Boutwell’s crew coordinated with U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Navy, Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, and partner-nation assets to execute 15 go-fast pursuits resulting in the interdiction of six drug laden vessels and disruption of nine additional cases.
Operation Martillo, or Hammer, is one component in the U.S. Government’s whole-of-government approach to countering the spread of transnational organized crime in Central America and the use of Central American littorals as transshipment routes for illicit drugs, weapons, cash, and human trafficking.
Boutwell’s offload comes less than two weeks after Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Paul Zukunft signed the Coast Guard Western Hemisphere Strategy into effect, which addresses transnational threats and maritime challenges that threaten the security of the Nation, markets and oceans over the next 10 years.
Increased threats in the Western Hemisphere require the Coast Guard to create a new Western Hemisphere Strategy with the following priorities: Combating Networks, Securing Borders, and Safeguarding Commerce.