JACKSONVILLE, FLA.—A U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Office of Air and Marine (OAM) P-3 crew assisted Joint Interagency Task Force-South (JIATFS) in detecting and disrupting an attempt to smuggle approximately 3,000 pounds of suspected marijuana Sunday in the western Caribbean Sea.
The Jacksonville-based P-3 crew was on a counterdrug patrol when they detected a suspicious go-fast vessel approximately 50 nautical miles southeast of Providencia Island, Colombia. While tracking the vessel, the P-3 crew observed the smugglers jettison approximately 60 bales of contraband. Colombian air and naval forces intercepted the vessel and apprehended four crew members.
During fiscal year 2012, the P-3 fleet continued its anti-smuggling success by seizing or disrupting more than 117,765 pounds of cocaine valued at more than $8.8 billion, totaling 21.1 pounds seized for every flight hour, valued at $1.5 million for every hour flown. P-3s have been an integral part of the successful counter-narcotic missions operating in coordination with JIATF-S. CBP P-3s patrol a six million square mile area of the western Caribbean and Eastern Pacific, known as the Transit Zone, in search of drugs moving toward U.S. shores.
The P-3s' distinctive detection capabilities allow highly-trained crews to identify emerging threats well beyond the land borders of the U.S. By providing surveillance of known air, land, and maritime smuggling routes in an area that is twice the size of the continental U.S.; the P-3s detect, monitor and disrupt smuggling activities before they reach shore.
CBP's Office of Air and Marine is the world's largest aviation and maritime law enforcement organization, and is a critical component of the agency's layered enforcement strategy for border security. With 1,200 federal agents, 268 aircraft and 289 marine vessels operating from 84 locations throughout the United States, OAM uses its sophisticated fleets to detect, sort, intercept, track and apprehend criminals in diverse environments at and beyond U.S. borders.
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.