• Local sailors seize about $75 million worth of drugs on USS Tornado

    By: Elizabeth Pace , Action News Jax


    Local families lined the pier as their loved ones pulled USS Tornado into Naval Station Mayport.

    Thursday morning ended a 72-day drug interdiction deployment for 39 Navy sailors and Coast Guard members.

    In the Eastern Pacific and Caribbean, USS Tornado participated in Operation Martillo to fight international organized crime.

    For the first time, crews told Action News Jax they successfully completed three separate drug busts in one deployment.


    “The most that was ever done on a deployment is one, we got three busts this first time out,” Chief Couri Childs said. “This is the first deployment for USS Tornado and we got three busts.”

    “We were fired up, it was great,” Commanding Officer Brian Stueber said. “Slapping hands, having good times, enjoying good port visits and just happy to get some drugs off the streets.”

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    During a quiet night on the water, crews seized about 5,000 pounds of cocaine and 6,100 pounds of marijuana from drug smugglers.

    It has an estimated value of about $75 million.

    “Stopped drugs from coming in from Southern America up into the United States, kind of like a roadblock for them.” Chief Childs said. “It’s pride because you’re completing what the Navy wants us to do.”

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