A team of 200 U.S. Marines have begun patrolling Guatemala's western coast in an unprecedented operation to combat drug trafficking in Central America, the AP reports.
Operation Martillo (i.e. Hammer) will target fast power boats and self-propelled "narco-submarines" along Central America's Pacific coast with the help of four UH-1 "Huey" helicopters.
The U.S.-led operation involves troops or law enforcement agents from Belize, Britain, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, France, Guatemala, Honduras, the Netherlands, Nicaragua, Panama and Spain.
"This is the first Marine deployment that directly supports countering transnational crime in this area, and it's certainly the largest footprint we've had in that area in quite some time," Marine Staff Sgt. Earnest Barnes of U.S. Southern Command told AP.