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CBP Air and Marine Operations, Interagency Partners Seize 690 Pounds of Cocaine in Caribbean Sea

Release Date: 
November 25, 2015

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Air and Marine Operations (AMO) and military partners supporting Joint Interagency Task Force South, including the U.S. Coast Guard, thwarted an attempt by drug traffickers to transport over 690 pounds of cocaine in the Caribbean Sea.

CBP P-3 aircraft based in Jacksonville, Florida

CBP P-3 aircraft based in Jacksonville, Florida

Joint Interagency Task Force South oversees the detection and monitoring of illicit traffickers and assists U.S. and multinational law enforcement agencies with the interdiction of these illicit traffickers.

On Nov. 1, a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter crew detected a suspicious go-fast vessel in international waters jettisoning cargo overboard and relayed information to task force partners supporting JIATF South. A CBP crew aboard a P-3 Airborne Early Warning aircraft maintained surveillance while partner nation maritime air assets were dispatched to pursue the suspected smugglers.

The U.S. Coast Guard helicopter crew deployed warning shots and disabling fire after the vessel failed to yield. A U.S. Coast Guard Law Enforcement  detachment team aboard the HNLMS Friesland, a Royal Netherlands Navy patrol vessel, subsequently intercepted the vessel and recovered nine bales of cocaine while detaining two individuals.

CBP P-3 aircraft used for long-range patrols

CBP P-3 aircraft used for long-range patrols

The P-3 aircraft patrolling during the operation is based at AMO's National Air Security Operations Center in Jacksonville, Florida. CBP Air and Marine Operations P-3s are high-endurance, all-weather, tactical turbo-prop aircraft, which are utilized primarily for long-range patrols along the U.S. border and in the drug Transit Zones.

“Our dedicated CBP P-3 crews and task force partners are truly the best of the best,” said Director of National Air Security Operations Center - Jacksonville Robert Blanchard. “Detections and interdictions aided through the use of real-time advance aerial surveillance systems serve as a potent deterrent to criminal activity out on the high seas.”

The mission of the CBP Air and Marine Operations is to serve and protect the American people. AMO applies advanced aeronautical and maritime capabilities and employs a unique skill set to preserve America’s security interests.

In Fiscal Year 2014, CBP’s P-3s operating from Corpus Christi, Texas, and Jacksonville, Florida, flew more than 5,900 hours in support of counter-narcotic missions resulting in 135 interdiction events of suspected smuggling vessels and aircraft. These events led to the total seizure or disruption of 126,489 pounds of cocaine.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection in Florida includes travel and trade facilitation and securing over 1,200 miles of the coastal border. Find out more and get real-time updates at @CBPFlorida on Twitter

Last modified: 
February 9, 2017