AMO P-3 crews track vessel with over 3,800 pounds of cocaine
CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – A U.S. Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine Operations (AMO) crew, in coordination with interagency partners, pursued a self-propelled semi-submersible vessel engaged in cocaine smuggling.
The AMO crew aboard a P-3 Long Range Tracker aircraft tracked the vessel, Nov. 12, during operations in international waters, and coordinated with Joint Interagency Task Force – South (JIATF South) to interdict. Self-propelled semi-submersible vessels are low profile vessels designed to navigate low in the water to avoid detection.
The AMO crew maintained surveillance and coordinated an intercept with JIATF South. This multi-day operation involved several interagency partners including the U.S. Coast Guard and the U.S. Navy.
On November 13, a U.S. Coast Guard cutter intercepted the vessel, arrested the crew, and recovered over 3,800 pounds of cocaine. All three suspects will face charges in the U.S.
AMO operates maritime patrol aircraft from Corpus Christi, Texas, and Jacksonville, Florida, to conduct long-range aerial patrols and surveillance missions along the U.S. borders and in drug transit zones in Central and South America. P-3 aircrews detect, monitor, and disrupt smuggling activities before they reach shore.
“The drug cartels are relentless and extremely innovative,” said National Air Security Operations Center – Corpus Christi Director Allen Durham. “Interdicting self-propelled semi-submersible vessels requires expertise and the right aircraft. Air and Marine Operations will continue to beat the cartels at their own game to protect our borders.”