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CBP Air and Marine Operations, Interagency Partners Intercept 4735 Pounds of Cocaine During Operation Full Court Press

Release Date: 
January 3, 2018

MIAMI – U.S. Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine Operations (AMO) detected multiple drug-smuggling vessels with approximately 4735 pounds of cocaine as part of Operation Full Court Press in the Caribbean Sea with interagency partners. The estimated wholesale value of the drugs is $61.7 million.

CBP Air and Marine Operations mission is to serve and protect the American people.
CBP Air and Marine Operations
mission is to serve and protect the
American people.

CBP Air and Marine Operations aircrews from Miami Air and Marine Branch and Caribbean Air and Marine Branch used sophisticated maritime surveillance equipment to detect multiple drug-smuggling vessels as part of multi-agency operations around the holidays.

On Dec. 21, a CBP Air and Marine Operations DHC-8 Maritime Patrol Aircraft crew located a suspicious go-fast vessel south of the Dominican Republic and worked with interagency partners to intercept. The Dominican Navy recovered 17 bales and seized over 1760 pounds of cocaine. On Dec. 20, an AMO DHC-8 crew located a suspicious vessel in international waters and coordinated with the U.S. Coast Guard to intercept. Authorities arrested two individuals after a brief pursuit and seized approximately 2205 pounds of cocaine. On Dec. 18, an AMO DHC-8 crew detected a suspicious sailboat and the Dominican Navy responded to interdict the suspected maritime drug traffickers. Law enforcement personnel recovered over 770 pounds of cocaine along with numerous electronic devices.

Operation Full Court Press is an Air and Marine Operations Southeast Region led operation leveraging interagency partnerships to target maritime smuggling organizations responsible for cocaine trafficking throughout the Caribbean to the United States and elsewhere for distribution.

"Air and Marine Operations Southeast Region area of responsibility extends eastward from southeast Texas to the U.S. Virgin Islands which includes the waters of the Gulf of Mexico and a large portion of the Caribbean Sea. It is therefore necessary to closely coordinate law enforcement operations with our interagency and international partners to extend the Nation’s borders further away from the geographic border in order to dramatically increase our detection capabilities and the apprehension of illicit smuggling ventures prior to making landfall,” said Southeast Region Executive Director Eric Rembold. “Operation Full Court Press shows how this strategy pays great dividends in helping to keep America safe by confronting Drug Trafficking Organizations on their own turf.”

CBP's Air and Marine Operations used sophisticated maritime surveillance equipment.
CBP's Air and Marine Operations
used sophisticated maritime
surveillance equipment.

In Fiscal Year 2017, AMO enforcement actions resulted in the approximate seizure or disruption of 269,790 pounds of cocaine; 384,230 pounds of marijuana; 5,721 pounds of methamphetamine; 1,089 weapons and $26.1 million; 2,573 arrests and 37,009 apprehensions of illegal aliens.

“Air and Marine Operations in Florida and the Caribbean continues to leverage interagency partnerships to disrupt transnational organized crime and drug trafficking,” said Martin Wade, Director of the Miami Air and Marine Branch. “The mission is to serve and protect the American people and we’ll continue to apply advanced aeronautical and maritime capabilities preserving America’s security interests.”

Partnership efforts and community involvement are extremely important to U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s mission. CBP asks you to report maritime smuggling and other suspicious activities through 1-800-BE-ALERT or after hours toll-free number 1-800- 562-5943.

Learn more about CBP Air and Marine Operations. Follow U.S. Customs and Border Protection in Florida at @CBPFlorida on Twitter. File footage is available through U.S. Customs and Border Protection Office of Public Affairs via the Defense Video & Imagery Distribution System.

Last modified: 
January 4, 2018