Corpus Christi, Texas - U.S. Customs and Border Protection and its interagency partners disrupted a maritime smuggling attempt, early Monday arresting three Colombian nationals and recovering 26 bales of cocaine weighing 518 kilograms or close to 1,140 pounds.
A pair of aircraft from the Corpus Christi P3 Operations Center patrolling the open waters in the Eastern Pacific detected an illegal watercraft traveling in the Gulf of Curica.
A Long Range Tracker identified the illegal watercraft as a two-engine go-fast. The crew vectored a U.S. Coast Guard unit to the location to effect the disruption. Suspects aboard the go-fast began dumping bales of cocaine into the ocean and then jumped in the water. The three suspects and the bales of cocaine were recovered and turned over to Panama authorities.
"We are actively patrolling the Eastern Pacific Ocean looking for illegal or suspicious activity and our efforts have been very successful," said Lothar Eckardt, director, P-3 Operations Center-Corpus Christi. "This disruption demonstrates the effectiveness of our intra agency."
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.