Pubdate: Fri, 09 Jan 2004
Source: San Juan Journal (WA)
Copyright: 2004 San Juan Journal
Author: Richard Walker


A Friday Harbor sailor's Navy ship seized a boat in the Persian Gulf
carrying two tons of hashish and four people tied to the Al-Qaida
terrorist network, the U.S. Central Command reported Dec. 19.

Jennifer Minsch is a cryptologist third class aboard the USS Decatur,
a guided missile destroyer patrolling the Persian Gulf. She is the
granddaughter of Alan and Lois Minsch of Friday Harbor.

On Dec. 14, the Decatur intercepted the boat, a wooden vessel known as
a dhow, near the Straits of Hormuz. The straits are the narrow part of
the gulf between Iran and Oman. The U.S. Central Command said the area
is a known smuggling route used by Osama bin Ladin's network.

Investigators searching the boat found 54 70-pound bags of hashish -
worth $8 million to $10 million - and "clear ties" between the drugs
and al-Qaida, U.S. Central Command reported.

Grandmother Lois Minsch said Friday the family was elated over the
news of the seizure. "(We) are so proud of her," she said.

Petty Officer Minsch has been stationed aboard the Decatur since
August. "She can't talk about her job," the grandmother said. "(But)
she has been very busy."

The Decatur is deployed with a Carrier Strike Group led by the USS
Enterprise. According to the Decatur's Web site, the ship can detect,
track and engage hundreds of aircraft and missiles while continuously
watching the sky for new targets from wavetop to the

The Decatur can fire a combination of 90 Standard surface-to-air
missiles, Tomahawk surface-to-land missiles, and Vertically Launched
Antisubmarine rockets. Decatur also has deck-mounted Harpoon antiship
missile launchers and MK 32 torpedo tubes.
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