Written by Beth Ford Roth/KPBS
The San Diego-based Navy frigate USS Rentz intercepted roughly 313 kilograms (690 pounds) of cocaine in the month of December, while taking part in counter drug trafficking operations in the coastal waters off Central America.
The street value of all that cocaine? About $10.4 million.
Helicopter Squadron Anti-Submarine Warfare Light 49 Detachment 5 (based at NAS North Island), and U.S. Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment (LEDET) personnel also participated in disrupting the cocaine shipment, according to USS Rentz public affairs:
Rentz deployed one of its SH-60B Anti-Submarine Patrol Helicopters to detect and intercept a small open-hull go-fast vessel suspected of smuggling narcotics in international waters.
Coast Guard LEDET personnel aboard the frigate discovered and confiscated the cache of cocaine shortly after boarding the suspect vessel. Three suspects have been detained as a result of the operation and were transferred to Ecuadoran authorities in international waters.
According to the Navy, the Rentz's December bust is the crew's fourth successful drug seizure in recent months. Since beginning its participating in Operation Martillo, the Rentz is responsible for intercepting about 3,000 kilograms (6,614 pounds) of illegal drugs.