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Campaign Martillo

​Campaign Martillo (Hammer) is a U.S., European, and Western Hemisphere effort targeting illicit trafficking routes in coastal waters along the Central American isthmus.  U.S. military participation is led by Joint Interagency Task Force South, a component of U.S. Southern Command. 

Recent Photos

The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Bertholf (WMSL-750) offloads approximately 7,500 pounds of seized cocaine and marijuana in San Diego, March 20, 2021. The drugs, worth an estimated $126.7 million, were seized in international waters of the Eastern Pacific Ocean between January and February representing 10 suspected drug smuggling vessel interdictions off the coasts of Mexico, Central and South America by the following Coast Guard and Navy ships. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Travis Magee/Released)
Adm. Karl Schultz, the Coast Guard commandant addresses the audience during a drug offload by the Coast Guard Cutter Bertholf (WMSL-750) in San Diego, March 20, 2021. The drugs, worth an estimated $126.7 million, were seized in international waters of the Eastern Pacific Ocean between January and February representing 10 suspected drug smuggling vessel interdictions off the coasts of Mexico, Central and South America by the following Coast Guard and Navy ships. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Travis Magee).
The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Bertholf (WMSL-750) offloads approximately 7,500 pounds of seized cocaine and marijuana in San Diego, March 20, 2021. The drugs, worth an estimated $126.7 million, were seized in international waters of the Eastern Pacific Ocean between January and February representing 10 suspected drug smuggling vessel interdictions off the coasts of Mexico, Central and South America by the following Coast Guard and Navy ships. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Travis Magee/Released)
Coast Guard Cutter Heriberto Hernandez crew members offload over 200 kilograms of cocaine, valued at over $5.6 million, and transfer three suspected smugglers, one Venezuelan and two Dominicans to federal agents from the Caribbean Corridor Strike Force March 2, 2021 at Coast Guard Base San Juan. The bust resulted from an at-sea interdiction by the Coast Guard Cutter Richard Dixon and partner agencies in the Caribbean Sea near the U.S. Virgin Islands Feb. 23, 2021. (U.S. Coast Guard photo)
Coast Guard Cutter Munro (WMSL 755) boarding teams discover contraband concealed within a fishing vessel in the Eastern Pacific Ocean, Jan. 25, 2021. Exercising a bilateral agreement with a partner nation, the boarding teams searched and discovered 1,300 pounds of cocaine concealed within the vessel. U.S. Coast Guard photo courtesy of the Coast Guard Cutter Munro.
Coast Guard Cutter Munro (WMSL 755) boarding team member sits atop an interdicted low-profile vessel in the Eastern Pacific Ocean after crews seized 3,439 pounds of cocaine from the LPV, Jan. 27, 2021. Munro is one of two Alameda, California-based cutters who's crews interdicted a combined three suspected drug smuggling vessels in the Eastern Pacific Ocean between Jan. 26 and Feb. 1 resulting in the seizure of more than 9,000 pounds of cocaine worth an estimated $156 million. U.S. Coast Guard photo courtesy of the Coast Guard Cutter Munro.
Coast Guard Cutter Bertholf (WMSL 750) boarding teams interdict a low-profile vessel in the Eastern Pacific Ocean, seizing more than 4,380 pounds of cocaine, Feb. 1, 2021. Bertholf is one of two Alameda, California-based cutters who's crews interdicted a combined three suspected drug smuggling vessels in the Eastern Pacific Ocean between Jan. 26 and Feb. 1 resulting in the seizure of more than 9,000 pounds of cocaine worth an estimated $156 million. U.S. Coast Guard photo courtesy of the Coast Guard Cutter Bertholf.
A Coast Guard Cutter Bertholf (WMSL 750) boarding team member stands atop an interdicted low-profile vessel in the Eastern Pacific Ocean, Feb. 1, 2021. Cartels design low-profile vessels specifically to evade law enforcement and to ferry large quantities of illicit contraband while riding low in the water. U.S. Coast Guard photo courtesy of the Coast Guard Cutter Bertholf.
The Coast Guard Cutter Campbell (WMEC 909) crew offloads approximately 7,250 pounds of cocaine at Port Everglades, Florida, Feb. 4, 2021. The Campbell is homeported in Kittery, Maine. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Jose Hernandez)
The Coast Guard Cutter Campbell (WMEC 909) crew offloads approximately 7,250 pounds of cocaine at Port Everglades, Florida, Feb. 4, 2021. The fight against drug cartels in the Eastern Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea requires unity of effort in all phases from detection, monitoring and interdictions, to criminal prosecutions by international partners and U.S. Attorneys’ Offices in districts across the nation. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Jose Hernandez)
PACIFIC OCEAN (Dec. 5, 2020) The Independence-variant littoral combat ship USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS 10) with embarked U.S. Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment (LEDET) 407 conducts enhanced counter-narcotics operations, Dec. 5, 2020. Gabrielle Giffords is deployed to the U.S. 4th Fleet area of operations to support Joint Interagency Task Force South�s mission, which includes counter illicit drug trafficking in the Caribbean and Eastern Pacific. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Allen Michael Amani)
PACIFIC OCEAN (Dec. 5, 2020) The Independence-variant littoral combat ship USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS 10) with embarked U.S. Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment (LEDET) 407 conducts enhanced counter-narcotics operations, Dec. 5, 2020. Gabrielle Giffords is deployed to the U.S. 4th Fleet area of operations to support Joint Interagency Task Force South�s mission, which includes counter illicit drug trafficking in the Caribbean and Eastern Pacific. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Allen Michael Amani)
Crew members from Coast Guard Cutter Harriet Lane wrap pallets of drugs for offload at Port Everglades, Florida, Sept. 17, 2020. The crew offloaded approximately 12,100 pounds of cocaine and approximately 5,759 pounds of marijuana worth an estimated $216 million. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Nicole J. Groll)
Coast Guard Cutter Bertholf (WMSL-750) crewmembers inspect a low-profile semi-submersible in international waters of the Eastern Pacific Ocean Aug. 14, 2020. Coast Guard crews seized more than 26,000 pounds of cocaine worth an estimated $390 million, through thirteen separate suspected drug smuggling interdictions and disruptions off the coasts of Mexico, Central and South America between late May and late August. (U.S. Coast Guard photo)
Coast Guard Cutter Bertholf (WMSL-750) crewmembers inspect a low-profile semi-submersible in international waters of the Eastern Pacific Ocean Aug. 14, 2020. The cocaine, worth an estimated $390 million, was seized in 13 suspected drug smuggling vessel interdictions off the coasts of Mexico, Central and South America between late May and late August. (U.S. Coast Guard photo)

Overview of U.S. military support to Campaign Martillo

The U.S. contribution to the multinational detection, monitoring and interdiction operation includes U.S. Navy and Coast Guard vessels, aircraft from U.S. federal law enforcement agencies, and military and law enforcement units from various nations working together to deny transnational criminal organizations the ability to exploit these transshipment routes for the movement of narcotics, precursor chemicals, bulk cash, and weapons along Central American shipping routes. 

Martillo is a critical 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.  Fourteen countries are participating: Belize, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, France, Guatemala, Honduras, the Netherlands, Nicaragua, Panama, Spain, United Kingdom and the United States.  Chile has also contributed to the operation.

More information

Joint Interagency Task Force South (JIATF South)

The Key West, Fla.-based JIATF South is the National Task Force that serves as the catalyst for integrated and synchronized interagency counter-illicit trafficking operations, and is responsible for the detection and monitoring of suspect air and maritime drug activity in the Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico, and the eastern Pacific. JIATF South also collects, processes, and disseminates counter drug information for interagency and partner nation operations.  Learn more about Joint Interagency Task Force South

Department of Defense role

While the Department of Defense is not the lead agency responsible for countering threat networks, its unique capabilities can be leveraged to support other U.S. government and partner nation efforts. SOUTHCOM is aligned with and supports lead agencies, such as the Departments of Justice and State, as well as partner nations in the threat network fight. 

Department of Defense interdiction role explained

The DoD is the lead federal agency in efforts to detect and monitor aerial and maritime transit of illegal drugs towards the United States.  Based on information gathered by JIATF South-coordinated operations, U.S. law enforcement agencies and partner nations take the lead in interdicting drug runners.  U.S. military interdiction involvement, if any, is in support of those law enforcement agencies. 

Typically, U.S. military personnel are involved in supporting an interdiction during maritime operations in international waters, where U.S. Navy ships and helicopters patrol and intercept suspected traffickers.  The actual interdictions – boarding, search, seizures and arrests – are led and conducted by embarked U.S. Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachments or partner nation drug law enforcement agencies. 

SOUTHCOM LINES OF EFFORT

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