The Independence-class littoral combat ship USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS 10) with embarked U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) Law Enforcement Detachment (LEDET) 407 seized an estimated 2,810 kilograms of suspected cocaine, Dec. 5. While on routine patrol, Gabrielle Giffords was diverted to intercept a low-profile vessel (LPV). Gabrielle Giffords deployed one of her helicopters, assigned to the “Wildcards” of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 23, to provide over watch and ensure compliance while the embarked LEDET and small boats were deployed to achieve positive control and begin boarding of the LPV.
Gabrielle Giffords and the embarked LEDET searched the vessel and recovered approximately 134 bales, for an estimated 2,810 kilograms of suspected cocaine worth over an estimated wholesale value of $106 million. Three suspected drug traffickers were also detained. Gabrielle Giffords 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 in the Caribbean and Eastern Pacific. On April 1, U.S. Southern Command began enhanced counter-narcotics operations in the Western Hemisphere to disrupt the flow of drugs in support of Presidential National Security Objectives.
Numerous U.S. agencies from the Departments of Defense, Justice and Homeland Security cooperated in the effort to combat transnational organized crime. The Coast Guard, U.S. Navy, Customs and Border Protection, FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement, along with allied and international partner agencies, play a role in counter-drug operations. U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/U.S. 4th Fleet supports U.S. Southern Command’s joint and combined military operations by employing maritime forces in cooperative maritime security operations to maintain access, enhance interoperability, and build enduring partnerships in order to enhance regional security and promote peace, stability and prosperity in the Caribbean, Central and South American region.
USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS-10) is an Independence-class littoral combat ship of the United States Navy. The ship is named after former United States Representative Gabrielle Giffords, who was shot along with eighteen other people during a 2011 shooting in Tucson, Arizona. After commissioning, Gabrielle Giffords conducted qualification trials on her official maiden voyage from Texas to her home port of San Diego, California via the Panama Canal, arriving at Naval Base San Diego on 5 July 2017. She has been assigned to Littoral Combat Ship Squadron One. During summer 2019 the ship was equipped with MQ-8C Fire Scout drones and Naval Strike Missiles and from September deployed in an offensive role in the seas off China.