While conducting routine operations in the U.S. 4th Fleet area of operations an MH-60R Sea Hawk, assigned to the “Easyriders” of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 37, embarked aboard the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Michael Murphy (DDG 112), sighted a low profile vessel on July 25.
As the helicopter approached the craft, a hatch opened on the top of the vessel and three passengers were seen jettisoning objects from the boat. Assisted by vectoring from a helicopter, Michael Murphy’s interceptor boat collected the jettisoned items and approached alongside the low-profile vessel.
Michael Murphy was able to communicate with the vessel informing them to remain in sight.
Michael Murphy remained alongside the suspicious vessel until U.S. Coast Guard Cutter (USCGC) Midgett (WMSL 757) arrived on scene.
The Coast Guard boarding team determined the jettisoned material tested positive for cocaine. Approximately 2,100 pounds of cocaine – some that were jettisoned and retrieved by Michael Murphy’s crew and some found aboard the vessel by the Coast Guard – was seized. Three suspected smugglers were taken into custody by the Coast Guard.
“From our air detachment and interceptor boat team to the men and women aboard the ship, everything came together to conduct the identification, interception, and approach,” said Cmdr. Christopher Forch, commanding officer aboard Michael Murphy. “The handoff to USCGC Midgett was smooth and successful – a true team effort by two agencies.”
Michael Murphy is currently deployed to the U.S. 4th Fleet area of operations, following its participation in exercises UNITAS LX and Teamwork South 2019 in Valparaiso, Chile, from June 24-July 3.