CBP Air and Marine P-3 Crew and International Partners Intercept Vessel with 2,860 Pounds of Cocaine
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Office of Air and Marine (OAM) aircrew aboard a maritime patrol aircraft coordinated with Colombian authorities to interdict a vessel carrying more than 2,860 pounds of cocaine in the Caribbean Sea as part of international operations targeting illicit traffickers.
On July 30, OAM agents aboard a CBP P-3 Airborne Early Warning aircraft detected a suspicious go-fast vessel believed to be loaded with contraband in international waters. Suspected smugglers on the boat then began dumping objects overboard to prevent their seizure.
The CBP aircrew continued to provide maritime surveillance as interagency partners and the Colombian Navy intercepted the vessel. Authorities apprehended three individuals and discovered more than a ton of cocaine on the drug-trafficking vessel.
"Our exceptional agents are in a position to expose nefarious activities on the high seas and collaborate with a robust network of law enforcement and military partners committed to denying drug traffickers a safe haven, said Director of National Air Security Operations Center - Jacksonville Robert Blanchard. "With enhanced interdiction capabilities we'll continue to provide unparalleled maritime surveillance capabilities."
Operation Martillo is a critical component of the U.S. government’s coordinated interagency regional security strategy to counter the spread of transnational organized crime in Central America and the use of transshipment routes for illicit drugs, weapons, cash, and human trafficking. Joint Interagency Task Force South, a National Task Force, oversees the detection and monitoring of illicit traffickers and assists U.S. and multinational law enforcement agencies with the interdiction of these illicit traffickers.
The P-3 aircraft patrolling is based at OAM's National Air Security Operations Center in Jacksonville, Florida. OAM P-3s have been an integral part of the successful counter-narcotic missions operating in coordination with JIATF South. The P-3s patrol in a 42 million-square mile area which includes more than 41 nations, the Pacific Ocean, Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean Sea, and seaboard approaches to the United States.
OAM P-3s operating from Jacksonville, Florida and Corpus Christi, Texas, flew nearly 6,000 hours in support of counternarcotic missions resulting in 135 interdiction events of suspected smuggling vessels and aircraft during the last fiscal year. In Fiscal Year 2014, OAM conducted 90,739 flight hours and 42,859 underway hours, resulting in the arrest of 4,725 suspects, the apprehension of more than 79,672 illegal migrants, the seizure of 763 weapons, $147,805,097 in currency, and the interdiction of more than 1,155,815 pounds of illegal drugs, including 155,143 pounds of cocaine.
OAM is a critical component of CBP's border security mission and the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) risk-based and multi-layered approach to homeland security. OAM applies advanced aeronautical and maritime capabilities and employs unique skill sets to protect our Nation's borders and preserve America's security interests.
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.