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News | Aug. 19, 2020

USS Nitze Interdicts Millions in Drugs

By U.S. Fourth Fleet Public Affairs

The Arleigh Burke-class Destroyer USS Nitze (DDG 94) with embarked U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) Law Enforcement Detachment (LEDET) seized 82 kilograms of suspected cocaine and 2,961 pounds of suspected marijuana, July 29.

While on routine patrol, the go-fast vessel (GFV) was spotted and Nitze was vectored in for a long-range intercept.  Upon interception, Nitze deployed one of her helicopters, assigned to the “Jaguars” of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 60 (HSM 60), who observed the vessel jettisoning packages over the side.  They continued to provide overwatch and ensure compliance while the embarked LEDET on Nitze and small boats arrived to achieve positive control of the GFV. The vessel was searched and four suspected drug traffickers were detained.

Nitze and the embarked LEDET recovered a total of 82 kilograms of suspected cocaine worth over an estimated wholesale value of $3.1M and 2,961 pounds of suspected marijuana worth an estimated wholesale value of $5.2M.  

“This was a team effort,” said Cmdr. Don Curran, USS Nitze Commanding Officer. “The support we received from our partners was imperative to this operation.”

USS Nitze is deployed to the U.S. Southern Command area of responsibility to support enhanced counter-drug operations, in the Caribbean and Eastern Pacific.

On April 1, U.S. Southern Command began enhanced counter-narcotics operations in the Western Hemisphere to disrupt the flow of drugs in support of Presidential National Security Objectives.

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


U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/U.S. 4th Fleet supports U.S. Southern Command’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, Central and South American region.


Learn more about USNAVSO/4th Fleet at and @NAVSOUS4THFLT