USS Sioux City seizes around $24M of suspected cocaine in 2 drug busts

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CARIBBEAN SEA – (April 27, 2021) — The Freedom-variant littoral combat ship USS Sioux City (LCS 11) and U.S. Coast Guard Tactical Law Enforcement Team 109, Cape Cod Maritime Safety Security Team (MSST), prepare to load approximately 510 kilograms of suspected cocaine, onto an MH-60S Seahawk attached to the “Sea Knights” of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 22, Detachment 3, for transport, April 27, 2021. 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. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Marianne Guemo/Released)

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) — The USS Sioux City (LCS 11) helped seize more than $24 million in suspected cocaine from April 26 through April 28 in back-to-back drug busts.

Officials said on April 26, while on routine patrol, a go-fast vessel (GFV) was spotted by a maritime patrol aircraft, and the combat ship was called in to intercept. USS Sioux City deployed a helicopter, assigned to the “Sea Knights” of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 22, Detachment 3, and a small boat. Once on the scene, the GFV was seen dropping packages over the side, and crew members searched the vessel, all packages were recovered, and two suspected drug traffickers were detained.

On April 27, a second GFV was spotted, and the combat ship was called in again for an intercept. The combat ship’s helicopter established positive control over the vessel as the GFV dropped packages over the side, and three more suspected drug traffickers were detained.

Authorities reported that USS Sioux City and the embarked U.S. Court Guard Law Enforcement Detachment (LEDET) recovered around 582 kilograms of suspected cocaine worth about $24 million.

“I’m very proud of the efforts put forth by our Sioux City crew and embarked U.S. Coast Guard team,” said Cmdr. Wade Smith, Sioux City’s commanding officer. “Counter-narcotics evolutions are long, precise, and require extensive coordination across the board. Conducting back-to-back drug busts, and doing so safely and professionally demonstrates the resilience and commitment of our team to this crucial mission here in U.S. 4th Fleet.”

USS Sioux City is deployed to the U.S. 4th Fleet area of operations to support Joint Interagency Task Force South’s mission, including counter-illicit drug trafficking missions in the Caribbean and Eastern Pacific.

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