MIAMI — U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Office of Air and Marine (OAM) aircrews and interagency partners intercepted a drug-trafficking vessel in the Caribbean Sea stacked with approximately 3,000 pounds of marijuana.
On Aug. 18, a CBP OAM P-3 crew detected a suspicious vessel during a patrol designed to disrupt the illegal flow of drugs and illegal activity in the Carribean. CBP Miami Air and Marine Branch personnel aboard a OAM DHC-8 aircraft and U.S. Coast Guard air and maritime assets continued tracking the go-fast vessel as suspected smugglers onboard attempted to elude authorities.
Law enforcement partners intercepted the vessel and apprehended three individuals while seizing 1.5 tons of marijuana. The estimated street value of the drugs is $7.6 million.
“We’re committed to countering illicit trafficking within the maritime environment,” said Director of National Air Security Operations Center - Jacksonville Robert Blanchard. “This interception is an example of our ability to operate efficiently and effectively with a variety of military, federal, state and local partners.”
CBP Office of Air and Marine is an integral part of the successful counter-narcotic missions operating in coordination with Joint Interagency Task Force South (JIATF South). JIATF 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.
“Our highly-trained agents are fully engaged and diligently disrupting illicit activity before it reaches the coastline,” said William Gibbon, Director of CBP’s Miami Air and Marine Branch. “We’re focused on providing aerial and maritime surveillance, interdiction, and operational capability in support of the maritime border security mission.”
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.
The mission of the CBP Office of Air and Marine is to serve and protect the American people. OAM applies advanced aeronautical and maritime capabilities and employs a unique skill set to preserve America’s security interests.
To find out more about CBP operations in Florida, visit @CBPFlorida on Twitter.
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.