The Freedom-variant littoral combat ship USS Sioux City (LCS 11), with embarked U.S. Coast Guard Tactical Law Enforcement Detachment 102, interdicted over $20 million worth of cocaine in the Caribbean Sea, September 19-20, 2021.
On Sept. 19, a target of interest was spotted by a Dominican Republic search and rescue aircraft and Sioux City was vectored in to intercept the go-fast vessel (GFV). Sioux City deployed their Tactical Law Enforcement Detachment (LEDET) 102 on a rigid-hull inflatable boat (RHIB), and the LEDET established positive control. The vessel was searched, and three suspected drug traffickers were detained.
Sioux City and LEDET 102 seized an estimated 497 kilograms of suspected cocaine, which has an estimated street value of over $20.7 million.
“Any time we can prevent this stuff from getting to our communities and affecting our families makes these experiences more rewarding. We want to be out here executing these missions,” said Cmdr. Brad Tonder, commanding officer of Sioux City.
Sioux City 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 missions in the Caribbean and Eastern Pacific.
On April 1, 2020, U.S. Southern Command began what was then known as Enhanced Counter Narcotics (CN) Operations in the Western Hemisphere to increase the disruption of illegal drug trafficking. This counter Transnational Criminal Organizations (TCO)/CN operational approach, which has become enduring, supports our objectives to degrade the capabilities of TCOs and save lives. With our increased presence, we have bolstered support to U.S. and partner nation law enforcement by sharing information and intelligence to help expand target packages. Since then, our key partners have been involved in over 60% of drug disruptions since April 2020 (up from 50% in 2019). By strengthening partnerships, we counter threats together.