CBP Surveillance Aircraft Leads U.S. Navy Vessel to $9.2 Million Cocaine Seizure off Panama
JACKSONVILLE, FLA.—On November 30, as part of the Joint Inter-Agency Task Force-South (JIATF-S) mission, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Office of Air and Marine (OAM) P-3 aircrew, assigned to the National Air Security Operations Center (NASOC-JAX) in Jacksonville, Fla., reported utilizing a P-3 LRT aircraft in locating and tracking a surface target of interest (STOI) approximately 230 NM southwest of Panama City, Panama. The STOI was located and tracked until a boarding team from the U.S. Navy arrived on scene.
On December 2, the JIATF-S confirmed the seizure of 1,012 pounds of cocaine from the STOI.
CBP OAM P-3s have been an integral part of JIATF-S. The P-3s patrol a 42 million square mile area of the Western Caribbean and Eastern Pacific, known as the Source and Transit Zone, in search of drugs that are in transit towards 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.
The CBP Office of Air and Marine is the world’s largest aviation and maritime law enforcement organization with approximately 1,200 federal agents operating from 30 air and marine locations, with 260 aircraft and 290 maritime vessels.