PACIFIC OCEAN (Aug. 20, 2011) Sailors assigned to the San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ship USS New Orleans (LPD 18) prepare to hand over suspected drugs seized from a vessel in distress to the Coast Guard off the coast of San Diego. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Dominique Pineiro)

SAN DIEGO - Amphibious transport dock ship USS New Orleans (LPD 18) recovered an estimated 1,800 pounds of alleged contraband from a small boat off the coast of San Diego Aug. 20.

U.S. Coast Guard officials received a distress call at approximately 10 a.m. about the vessel of interest, a 20-foot fishing boat apparently from Mexico. Officials requested New Orleans respond as they were operating in the vicinity of the small boat.

New Orleans received reports of suspected contraband being dumped from the small boat. While providing assistance to the vessel in distress, Sailors on rigid hull inflatable boats and in an MH-60 helicopter flying overhead found floating objects suspected to be illegal contraband.

The crew aboard New Orleans collected the contraband and turned it over to the Coast Guard. The Mexican Navy took custody of the individuals on board the vessel. Further details of the event are under investigation by the Coast Guard.

In addition to New Orleans, units involved in the operation included Coast Guard Cutter Petrel (WPB 87350), USS Makin Island (LHD 8), Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 23, and two Mexican Navy vessels.