Eight men arrested cruising the Caribbean with $246M in Cocaine
CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – U.S. Customs and Border Protection Office of Air and Marine agents aboard a P-3 Airborne Early Warning aircraft assisted in the disruption of over 3200 pounds of cocaine worth about $246 million and effecting the arrest of eight men, Aug. 29.
The P-3 and its crew are based at OAM's National Air Security Operations Center-Corpus Christi, Texas.
While on patrol as part of the Joint Interagency Task Force-South, the OAM crew aboard the P-3 aircraft detected a fishing vessel off the coast of Panama. After the monitoring the vessel’s activities, the crew directed a U.S. Coast Guard Cutter to intercept the 165-foot vessel.
The USCG intercepted the vessel and discovered a cache of cocaine bundles. The USCG detained the suspects and seized the cocaine.
“This latest seizure highlights our joint efforts to disrupt transnational criminal activity before it reaches the U.S. border and further illustrates the results multi-agencies and partner nations achieve as part of JIATF-South,” said NASOC-CC Director Thomas Salter.
JIATF-S, a component of U.S. Southern Command, conducts interagency and international operations and facilitates the interdiction of illicit trafficking in support of national and partner nation security.
According to U.S. Southern Command, in 2013 JIATF-S international efforts resulted in the seizure of 131 metric tons of cocaine with a Miami wholesale value of $2.6B.
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.