Corpus Christi, Texas - The National Air Security Operations Center - Corpus Christi routinely patrols the open waters between North and South America in defending the U.S border and actively pursuing those attempting to smuggle persons or contraband. On a recent detachment, a single P-3 crew interdicted four separate go-fast boats in a three-day period.
On March 18, the crew aboard the P-3 detected a single engine open boat traveling without its running lights in the Gulf of Panama. The crew continued to track the vessel and reported its location to an interdiction asset. The crew was informed later during the mission that the boat and its occupants were interdicted with eight bundles of cocaine.
The following day, the crew again identified another vessel traveling without its running light in the Gulf of Panama. The crew continued to observe the vessel and relay its location to law enforcement officials who later detained the crew, the boat and 41 bales of cocaine.
On March 20, early in their shift, a P-3 crew identified a vessel traveling at a high rate of speed without its running lights in the Western Caribbean. The crew continued to track the vessel and report its location to the U.S. Coast Guard. The USCG crew boarded the vessel and detained the occupants. However, the P-3 crew's work continued when they spotted another boat traveling without its running lights. The crew vectored an allied partner asset to interdict the boat, which resulted in seizure of eighty bales of cocaine.
"The total seizure for these four events came to 10,464 pounds," said Lothar Eckardt, NASOC-CC director. "This was a perfect example of joint operations with the U.S. Coast Guard and foreign law enforcement agencies."