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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

NAVAL STATION MAYPORT, Fla. (June 26, 2020) Adm. Craig S. Faller, commander of U.S. Southern Command, talks to the crewmembers of the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers USS Lassen (DDG 82), USS Farragut (DDG 99) and Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 60 (HSM 60) on the flightdeck of the Lassen at Naval Station Mayport. Lassen and Farragut recently returned from a nine-month deployment as part of the Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group (HSTCSG), which included conducting maritime security and enhanced counter narcotic operations in the U.S. 4th Fleet area of operations.(U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Anna-Liesa Hussey/Released)
200526-N-N3764-001 CARIBBEAN SEA The “Proud Warriors” of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 72, embarked aboard the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Lassen (DDG 82) with embarked U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) Law Enforcement Detachment (LEDET) team conducts enhanced counter narcotics operations in the Caribbean Sea, May 26, 2020. The Lassen and embarked LEDET recovered over 2,086 pounds of suspected marijuana. Lassen is deployed to the U.S. Southern Command area of responsibility to support Joint Interagency Task Force South’s mission, which includes counter illicit drug trafficking in the Caribbean and Eastern Pacific. (Photo courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard/Released)
EASTERN PACIFIC OCEAN (June 2, 2020) The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Preble (DDG 88) with embarked U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) Law Enforcement Detachment (LEDET) team conducts enhanced counter narcotics operations June 2. The Preble and embarked LEDET recovered over 2,000 kilograms of suspected cocaine. Preble is deployed to the U.S. Southern Command area of responsibility to support Joint Interagency Task Force South’s mission, which includes counter illicit drug trafficking in the Caribbean and Eastern Pacific. (Photo courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard/Released)
The Coast Guard Cutter James (WMSL-754) crew and interagency partners stand amongst 30,000 pounds of interdicted narcotics at Port Everglades, Florida, June 9, 2020. The cutter James crew offloaded approximately 23,000 pounds of cocaine and approximately 6,900 pounds of marijuana Tuesday, all worth more than an estimated $408 million. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Brandon Murray
A panga is shown in the eastern Pacific Ocean off Central America in mid-May 2020. The Coast Guard crew seized approximately 1,090 pounds of suspected cocaine in mid-May with an estimated value of $18.7 million from a go-fast vessel in international waters of the Pacific Ocean off Central America. (Coast Guard Photo)
A panga is shown in the eastern Pacific Ocean off Central America in mid-May 2020. The Coast Guard crew seized approximately 1,090 pounds of suspected cocaine in mid-May with an estimated value of $18.7 million from a go-fast vessel in international waters of the Pacific Ocean off Central America. (Coast Guard Photo)
Suspected cocaine is shown on the deck of the Coast Guard Cutter Confidence in international waters of the Pacific Ocean off Central America in mid-May 2020. The Coast Guard seized approximately 1,090 pounds of suspected cocaine in mid-May with an estimated value of $18.7 million from a go-fast vessel. (Coast Guard photo)
EASTERN PACIFIC OCEAN - The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Pinckney (DDG 91) with embarked U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) Law Enforcement Detachment (LEDET) team conducts enhanced counter narcotics operations May 16. The Pinckney and embarked LEDET recovered over 2,700 kilograms of cocaine. Pinckney is deployed to the U.S. Southern Command area of responsibility 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 3rd Class Erick A. Parsons/RELEASED)
A low-profile go-fast vessel is shown next to the Coast Guard Cutter James in mid-May, 2020 in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Central America. The James' crew interdicted 3,100 pounds of cocaine and four suspected smugglers aboard the boat. (U.S. Coast Guard photo.)
A low-profile go-fast vessel is shown next to the Coast Guard Cutter James in mid-May, 2020 in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Central America. The James' crew interdicted 3,100 pounds of cocaine and four suspected smugglers aboard the boat. (U.S. Coast Guard photo.)
A low-profile go-fast vessel is shown next to the Coast Guard Cutter James in mid-May, 2020 in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Central America. The James' crew interdicted 3,100 pounds of cocaine and four suspected smugglers aboard the boat. (U.S. Coast Guard photo.)
Bales of cocaine are shown aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Active (WMEC-618) following an interdiction in early May, 2020, in the international waters of the Eastern Pacific Ocean. The Active crew uncovered more than 2,000 pounds of cocaine from the vessel, worth approximately $37 million. (U.S. Coast Guard photo)
Members of the Coast Guard Cutter Active (WMEC-618) boarding team inspect a suspected smuggling vessel containing more than 2,000 pounds of cocaine in international waters of the Eastern Pacific Ocean in May, 2020. The cocaine was seized and the suspected smugglers were detained. (This photo has been edited for law enforcement purposes. U.S. Coast Guard photo.)
A suspected smuggling vessel drifts in international waters of the Eastern Pacific Ocean after being intercepted by the crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Active (WMEC-618) in May, 2020. More than 2,000 pounds of cocaine, worth approximately $37 million, were seized in the boarding. (This photo has been edited for law enforcement purposes. U.S. Coast Guard photo)
EASTERN PACIFIC OCEAN - The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Pinckney (DDG 91) with embarked U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) Law Enforcement Detachment (LEDET) team conducts enhanced counter narcotics operations, May 14. The Pinckney and embarked LEDET recovered an estimated 1,400 kilograms of cocaine. Pinckney is deployed to the U.S. Southern Command area of responsibility to support Joint Interagency Task Force South’s mission, which includes counter illicit drug trafficking in the Caribbean and Eastern Pacific. (U.S. Coast Guard photo/Released)

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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