JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Air and Marine Operations (AMO) aircrews with interagency partners detected a vessel loaded down with over 2,880 pounds of cocaine—a combined street value of $37.5 million—in international waters off the coast of Acapulco, Mexico.
CBP Air and Marine Operations P-3 aircrews based at the National Air Security Operations Center – Jacksonville use sophisticated maritime surveillance equipment throughout the year to detect drug-smuggling ventures as part of international operations with Joint Interagency Task Force-South (JIATF-South). JIATF-South targets illicit smuggling operations in coastal waters off the Central American isthmus.
On August 19, a CBP Air and Marine Operations P-3 crew identified a suspicious vessel in waters off the coast of Mexico and worked with the crew of a U.S. Coast Guard cutter on routine patrol in the region to intercept the vessel, seize the contraband and detain six suspected drug runners. “Air and Marine Operations works closely with our JIATF-South task force partners and provides critical capabilities toward the whole-of-government approach to address drug trafficking and other transnational threats,” said Director of National Air Security Operations Center - Jacksonville Robert Blanchard. “Air and Marine Operations advanced aeronautical and maritime capabilities are a way to combat transnational threats and interdict nefarious actors and contraband before it reaches our local communities and causes harm.”
CBP’s Air and Marine Operations is a federal law enforcement organization dedicated to serving and protecting the American people through advanced aeronautical and maritime capabilities. AMO interdicts unlawful people and cargo approaching U.S. borders, investigates criminal networks and provides domain awareness in the air and maritime environments, and responds to contingencies and national taskings.
With approximately 1,800 federal agents and mission support personnel, 240 aircraft and 300 marine vessels operating throughout the United States, Puerto Rico, and U.S. Virgin Islands, AMO serves as the nation’s experts in airborne and maritime law enforcement. 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.
File footage is available through U.S. Customs and Border Protection Office of Public Affairs via the Defense Video & Imagery Distribution System. For breaking news and information updates from U.S. Customs and Border Protection follow @CBP @CBPFlorida and CBPCaribbean on Twitter.