PUNTARENAS, Costa Rica (NNS) -- USS Carr (FFG 52) offloaded 4,134 pounds of marijuana worth $4 million that was recovered during Countering Transnational Organized Crime (CTOC) operations in the U.S. 4th Fleet (C4F) area of responsibility in support of Operation Martillo, Sept. 17.
During a routine night patrol in the Western Caribbean, Carr's embarked SH-60B helicopter spotted a small, fast moving surface contact. After closing to investigate, Carr's helicopter observed a 25-foot twin-engine vessel jettisoning bales of drugs.
In a coordinated effort, Carr pursued the go-fast over 80 miles until the go-fast entered Costa Rican territorial waters where the crew was apprehended by authorities.
Carr and U.S. Coast Guard law enforcement detachment personnel recovered contraband that was jettisoned from the vessel. The estimated street value is in excess of $33 million.
In addition, Carr supported Theater Security Cooperation (TSC) by hosting four members of Costa Rica's Legislative Assembly along with members of the local media.
Recently the Costa Rican legislative assembly enacted a bill that allows the United States Navy to conduct port visits. Carr is the first US Navy ship to make a port call in Costa Rica following the recent vote to authorize visits for ships taking part in joint maritime patrols. This vote enhances the ability of United States and Costa Rica to partner in the fight against TOC, which harms both nations.
"Thanks to the National Assembly's actions, we can now quickly transfer any suspects or evidence detained at sea into the hands of Costa Rica's legal system," stated Commander Patrick Kulakowski, Carr's commanding officer. "During our discussions we all agreed that we must work together to successfully counter transnational organized crime. During our time in theater we have had the opportunity to work with several partners, including Colombia, Costa Rica, and Panama to execute the mission."
Carr is homeported in Norfolk, Va., and is currently deployed in support of Operation Martillo, under operational control to U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/Commander 4th Fleet (COMUSNAVSO/C4F) while conducting CTOC operations in support of Joint Interagency Task Force - South, U.S. Southern Command (USSOUTHCOM), and U.S. Coast Guard District Seven.
Operation Martillo (Spanish for 'hammer') is a U.S., European, and Western Hemisphere partner nation effort targeting illicit trafficking routes in coastal waters along the Central American isthmus. U.S. military participation is being led by Joint Interagency Task Force-South, a component of USSOUTHCOM. Operation Martillo is a component of the U.S. government's coordinated interagency regional security strategy in support of the White House strategy to combat transnational organized crime and the U.S. Central America Regional Security Initiative.
COMUSNAVSO/C4F supports USSOUTHCOM joint and combined full-spectrum military operations by providing principally sea-based, forward presence to ensure freedom of maneuver in the maritime domain, to foster and sustain cooperative relationships with international partners and to fully exploit the sea as maneuver space in order to enhance regional security and promote peace, stability, and prosperity in the Caribbean, Central and South American regions.