CBP Contributes to $25M Cocaine Seizure
AMO crew detects vessel smuggling nearly a ton of drugs
CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – A U.S. Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine Operations P-3 Long Range Tracker aircraft working in the Eastern Pacific Ocean with a multinational task force and was involved in seizing nearly a ton of cocaine valued at $25,976,762.
The AMO crew was operating as part of the Joint Interagency Task Force South on Aug. 26 when they located a stealthy low-profile vessel moving in international waters.
The crew coordinated with a U.S. Coast Guard cutter to intercept the vessel. When the cutter reached the vessel, the USCG seized 1,993 pounds of cocaine, detained three smugglers, and sank the vessel to keep it from becoming a hazard to other boaters.
“We remain committed to the team working against transnational criminal organizations and narcotics smugglers,” said National Air Security Operations Center Corpus Christi (NASOC-CC) Director Allen Durham. “This seizure is the latest example of the great work that our crews do to make life hard on those intent on bringing illicit drugs to the United States.”
The P-3s have been an integral part of the successful counter-narcotic missions operating in coordination with the Joint Interagency Task Force South. Air and Marine Operations P-3 aircrews patrol a 42 million-square mile area, which includes more than 41 nations, the Eastern Pacific Ocean, Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean Sea, and seaboard approaches to the United States.
In addition to the P-3, NASOC-CC is responsible for CBP’s unmanned aircraft operations in Texas. Since October, unmanned aircraft have flown more than 3,000 hours from bases in Corpus Christi and San Angelo, working with the U.S. Border Patrol to apprehend over 3,000 border-crossers using cutting-edge technology.
The Joint Interagency Task Force South coordinates detection and monitoring of illicit trafficking across air and maritime domains, and facilitates international and interagency interdiction to enable the disruption and dismantlement of illicit and converging threat networks in support of national and hemispheric security.
AMO 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 tasking. 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; as well as 2,573 arrests and 37,009 apprehensions of illegal aliens.
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.