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CBP Air and Marine Operations P-3 Crew Stops $172 Million Worth of Cocaine From Reaching the United States

Release Date: 
February 5, 2016

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Air and Marine Operations (AMO) agents detected a cocaine smuggling venture resulting in the interdiction and arrest of three individuals and the seizure of more than 2,300 pounds of cocaine worth more than $172 million.

CBP Air and Marine Operations P-3 patrol aircraft

CBP Air and Marine Operations P-3 patrol aircraft

On January 31, a crew aboard a P-3 Airborne Early Warning Aircraft crew detected a suspicious 45-foot center console vessel heading northbound towards the continental United States.

Upon detecting the fast-moving vessel, the AMO crew immediately contacted Joint Interagency Task Force (JIATF) South to coordinate an interdiction with a U.S. Coast Guard cutter in the area. The AMO crew maintained constant visual surveillance of the suspect vessel. Upon interdiction, the U.S. Coast Guard arrested three individuals and recovered the drugs.

Director John Wassong at the National Air Security Operations Center - Corpus Christi said, “Thanks to the dedication of our AMO crews, JIATF South, and our U.S. Coast Guard partners, we were able to halt another large cocaine smuggling attempt.”

CBP Air and Marine Operations P-3s are an integral part of the successful counternarcotic missions operating in coordination with JIATF South. AMO crews patrol within a 42-million-square-mile area which includes more than 41 nations and the Pacific Ocean, Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean Sea, and seaboard approaches to the United States.

In Fiscal Year 2015, AMO’s aircrews contributed to 198 seizure, disruption, or interdiction events in the transit zone, resulting in the interdiction of 213,000 pounds of cocaine.

Last modified: 
March 25, 2019