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Fiscal Year 2011 Milestones and Achievements

During Fiscal Year 2011, the Office of Air and Marine (OAM) achieved 94,968 flight hours in aircraft and 133,374 underway hours in marine vessels.

OAM’s flight and underway hours directly contributed to:

  • 39,407 aliens apprehended
  • 1,480,086 pounds of marijuana seized
  • 151,969 pounds of cocaine seized
  • The UAS flew a record 4,406 hours in FY 2011, the most in the program’s history, and 75 percent more than FY 2010. UAS missions in FY 2011 contributed to the seizure of more than 7,600 pounds of narcotics and the apprehension of 467 individuals taking part in illicit activities.
  • On September 14, 2011, a Guardian UAS detected a suspect go-fast vessel in Bahamian waters. The UAS tracked the suspect vessel covertly for several hours and guided Bahamian law enforcement vessels to a successful interdiction and apprehension. This event marked the first UAS coordinated maritime apprehension in our nation’s history. The interdiction resulted in the arrest of 4 individuals and seizure of 954 pounds of marijuana and a 35-foot go-fast vessel.
  • OAM received the first certificate of authorization (COA) to fly a UAS from its home base at Corpus Christi, Texas to Cape Canaveral, Fla. on August 27, 2011. The COA was exercised again two days later when the UAS returned to Corpus Christi. The Gulf COA, signed by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on August 12, 2011, formalizes UAS transit operations along the Gulf Coast and is part of a larger interagency effort to integrate UAS operations into the U.S. National Airspace.
  • On September 2, 2011, the FAA renewed the existing COA and added authority for OAM UAS to transit to and from Puerto Rico. This COA paves the way for future UAS maritime operations in the Caribbean.
  • OAM established the National Capital Region (NCR) Air Branch. With 7 helicopters and 2 fixed-wing aircraft, the NCR Air Branch, and its subordinate New York Air Unit, support U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement operations, DHS Continuity of Operations, the Presidential State of the Union Address, Presidential Inauguration, various United Nations events, and DHS and White House communications research support.
  • The Air and Marine Operations Center (AMOC) in Riverside, California established a Production, Exploitation and Dissemination (PED) Cell.
  • OAM took delivery of its first Multi-Role Enforcement Aircraft, which began flying operationally along the Southwest Border Region while deployed at the San Diego Air and Marine Branch. The MEA is the latest addition to OAM’s aircraft fleet, and will perform marine interdiction, limited air-to-air interdiction, land interdiction, and transportation of cargo and people. The MEA will also be configured to carry special law enforcement technical collection systems.
  • The Sacramento Air Unit supported U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations with “Full Court Press,” an operation to disrupt and dismantle a network of clandestine marijuana gardens. The unit’s assistance led to 138 persons apprehended, 70 state criminal prosecutions, 40 federal prosecutions, $38,704 in currency seized and 623,576 marijuana plants eradicated.
  • In FY 2011, OAM maintained a strong presence within the Transit Zone in support of and in partnership with the Joint Interagency Task Force–South countering the flow of illegal narcotics destined for the United States. The use of P-3 aircraft resulted in the detection and intercept of 169 drug smuggling events throughout the Caribbean Sea, eastern Pacific Ocean, and over Central America. As a result of these interceptions, 8 aircraft were seized or destroyed, 55 surface vessels were seized and 3 self-propelled semi-submersibles were seized or scuttled, yielding a seizure or disruption of 151,721 pounds of cocaine with a street value of over $1.89 billion.
  • The El Paso Air Branch provided support to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations agents during Operation New Deal, which resulted in the arrest of four individuals and the seizure of over 1,000 firearms, nearly 2 million rounds of ammunition, bulletproof vests, and more than $100,000 in cash. The air branch successfully launched 11 covert missions, flew more than 28 hours of surveillance, and provided tactical air support to the entry team during the execution of a high-risk warrant.