Littoral combat ship Milwaukee confiscated more than $20 million in suspected cocaine from a drug smuggling go-fast vessel in U.S. 4th Fleet this month, according to the Navy.
The ship, along with U.S. Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment 402, jumped into action after a maritime patrol aircraft spotted the vessel in the Caribbean Jan. 7. The Milwaukee dispatched its MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopter and a rigid-hull inflatable boat (RHIB), and the Coast Guard detachment boarded the vessel.
Roughly 315 kilograms of suspected cocaine were uncovered, which the Navy said had a total value of approximately $22 million.
“There is an electric atmosphere onboard anytime we can accomplish a mission that has a direct impact on making America safer; it contributes to that winning mindset,” Cmdr. Brian Forster, the Milwaukee’s commanding officer, said in a Navy news release.
“The crew is excited to have accomplished our first boarding, and they performed flawlessly from start to finish,” Forster said. “It is a good feeling knowing that a large number of drugs will not make it onto the streets of America or our partners in the Caribbean.”
Five suspected drug traffickers were detained.
The Milwaukee deployed to U.S. 4th Fleet in December, but was sidelined later that month at Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba due to a COVID-19 outbreak.
The whole crew was fully vaccinated, and those infected only “exhibited mild or no symptoms,” according to the Navy.
The ship got back to sea Jan. 4.