CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – U.S. Customs and Border Protection Office of Air and Marine agents aboard a P-3 Orion aircraft assisted in the interdiction and seizure of more than 679 pounds of cocaine on Oct. 25. The estimated street value of the narcotics is $9,240,000.
The P-3 aircraft patrolling during the operation are based at OAM's National Air Security Operations Center locations in Corpus Christi, Texas and Jacksonville, Florida.
The aircrew alerted Nicaraguan authorities to intercept a suspicious go-fast vessel in the Caribbean Sea south of Corn Island. Nicaraguan law enforcement seized 11 bales of contraband and 8 additional bales are believed to have been thrown overboard. Authorities arrested three suspects while recovering two AK-47 rifles onboard.
“Working with our partner nations and interagency cooperation is crucial,” said NASOC-CC Director Thomas Salter. “Our dedicated agents remain vigilant in disrupting transnational criminal activity.”
Under the international counter illicit trafficking initiative called Operation MARTILLO, U.S. military and law enforcement agencies and regional partner nations’ military and law enforcement agencies patrol the air and sea environments in the Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico and the Eastern Pacific on a year-round basis in an effort to detect, monitor and interdict illicit traffickers. This seizure was, in part, due to the strong alliance formed with U.S. and partner nations under Operation MARTILLO. Operation MARTILLO includes the participation of 14 nations that are working together to counter trans-national organized crime and illicit trafficking in coastal waters along the Central American isthmus. Joint Interagency Task Force South, a National Task Force, oversees the detection and monitoring of illicit traffickers and assists U.S. and multi-national law enforcement agencies with the interdiction of these illicit traffickers.
CBP OAM P-3s have been an integral part of the successful counter-narcotic missions operating in coordination with the Joint Interagency Task Force - South. The P-3s patrol in a 42 million-square mile area known as the Source and Transit Zone, which includes more than 41 nations, the Pacific Ocean, Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean Sea, and seaboard approaches to the United States.
In Fiscal Year 2014, CBP’s P-3s operating out of Corpus Christi, Texas, and Jacksonville, Florida, flew more than 5,900 hours in support of counternarcotic missions and detected 149 suspected smuggling vessels and aircraft. This resulted in the seizure or disruption of 112,224 pounds of cocaine worth nearly $8.4 billion.
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.