USS RENTZ, At Sea -- Less than a week after arriving on station following a port visit in Panama, USS Rentz (FFG 46) and embarked U.S. Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment (LEDET) and helicopter squadron disrupted a shipment of 1,000 kg. of cocaine off the coast of Colombia in coordination with the Colombian navy Oct. 9.
Rentz worked closely with the Colombian navy operating in the region to detect and intercept the high-speed vessel suspected of smuggling narcotics in international waters.
Once Rentz detected and confirmed the location of the suspect boat, the Colombian navy quickly intercepted the boat and discovered the illegal contraband. The drugs were taken back to Colombia.
"We are pleased by the overall success of the operation. From the intelligence received from Joint Interagency Task Force South to the quick response of our Colombian partners," Cmdr. Lance Lantier, commanding officer of USS Rentz said.
The seizure is worth an estimated street value of $80 million.
"This disruption was a significant event in preventing a substantial amount of drugs from being smuggled into the US and is a perfect example of the teamwork and joint operations we conduct everyday with our partner nations to support Operation Martillo counter transnational organized crime operations," Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/U.S. 4th Fleet, Rear Adm. Sinclair M. Harris said.
Rentz is currently deployed to the 4th Fleet area of operations in support of Operation Martillo which began in Jan. 2012.
Operation Martillo (Spanish for 'hammer') targets illicit trafficking routes in coastal waters along the Central American isthmus, and is an international, interagency operation led by Joint Interagency Task Force-South, a component of U.S. Southern Command (USSOUTHCOM).
Since Operation Martillo started, 318,133 pounds of cocaine, 25,052 pounds of marijuana worth an estimated $40 billion have been confiscated.