The USS Gabrielle Giffords in the eastern Pacific. Navy photo

The Independence-class littoral combat ship USS Gabrielle Giffords is conducting enhanced counter-narcotics operations in the U.S. 4th Fleet area of operations in the Pacific Ocean, the Navy reported.

To date, the San Diego-based Giffords and an embarked Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment have seized over 2,200 pounds of cocaine worth an estimated $83.2 million.

The crew has also trained with the Salvadoran Navy in the Eastern Pacific, demonstrated techniques for underway maintenance, and used its 57mm deck gun to sink an unoccupied vessel considered a hazard to navigation.

U.S. Fourth Fleet is refining globally-relevant processes supporting forward deployment,” said Rear Adm. Don Gabrielson, commander of the 4th Fleet. “This team is partnered across the Navy testing new approaches that can refine and improve LCS operations. These concepts are expanding LCS operational reach, increasing operational availability, and enhancing engagement with our partners.”

On April 1, the U.S. Southern Command began enhanced counter-narcotics operations in the Western Hemisphere to disrupt the flow of drugs in support of 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 4th Fleet operates in the Caribbean and waters around Central and South America.

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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.