San Diego warship sinks drug smuggling boat

Written by Gary Robbins
3:48 p.m., Nov. 15, 2012
Updated 4:44 p.m.

San Diego warship sinks drug smuggling boat

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The Gary is a Perry-class frigate that turns 28 on Friday. US Navy

The Navy says the San Diego-based frigate Gary boarded two suspicious vessels in the eastern Pacific on Nov. 7 and later sank one because it appeared to be used to smuggle illegal drugs.

The incident happened while the Gary was on patrol as part of Operation Martillo, an effort by the United States, Europe and other partners to stop illicit trafficking off the coast of Central America.

The Gary's helicopter squadron located a suspicious speedboat that it had been following for about a day.

"When the speedboat recognized it was being detected, it attempted to evade the helicopter. Warning shots were authorized, which brought the vessel to an immediate halt," the Navy said in a release.

"Again, the speedboat attempted to escape, and the ship was instructed to pursue it, rather than a fishing vessel operating close by suspected of providing logistical support. Gary deployed its LEDET to conduct a boarding on the vessel."

Once the speedboat was secured, the Gary returned to a suspicious fishing vessel to conduct a second boarding and inspection. Illegal cargo was not found. But it was determined that the vessel had been helping the speedboat, and the Gary was given permission to sink the high-speed powerboat. The Navy did not say how the boat was scuttled.