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Dutch Navy ship and Belgian Defence helicopter intercept a drug shipment

Zr. Ms. Friesland, a ship of the Royal Dutch Navy, with a Belgian Defence helicopter on board, has intercepted 1,600 kilos of marihuana off the coast of Costa Rica.

Picture Belgian Defence (C. Louis)

Belgian and Dutch military forces are jointly participating in the international anti-narcotics operation Martillo in the Caribbean region.

During a night patrol, a U.S. maritime patrol aircraft discovered two suspicious so-called ‘go-fast’ boats. When one of the boats tried to escape, the Dutch vessel and the American aircraft initiated the pursuit, after which the drugs were jettisoned from the ‘go-fast’. The Belgian helicopter managed to retrieve 89 bales of marijuana out of sea, with a weight of approximately 1,600 kilos. The drugs have been transferred to the U.S. Coast Guard for further investigation.

Operation Martillo (Hammer) is a U.S., European, and Western Hemisphere partner nation effort targeting illicit trafficking routes in coastal waters along the Central American isthmus. The operation is led by the U.S. Joint Interagency Task Force South in Key West, Florida.

Last March, Zr. Ms. Friesland and the Belgian Alouette III helicopter already intercepted 1,453 kilos of cocaine during operation Martillo. 


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