Cocaine Worth over $114 Million Seized from Vessel Located by CBP Air and Marine Operations
JACKSONVILLE, Fla.— A CBP Air and Marine Operations (AMO) P-3 Orion Long Range Tracker crew assigned to the National Air Security Operations Center-Jacksonville, was conducting maritime patrols when they located and tracked a cocaine-filled go-fast style vessel in the Western Caribbean on July 26.
The AMO P-3 crew maintained the initial radar contact of the target of interest, a 45-foot long, blue, open hull go-fast with four out-board engines. Five individuals could be seen onboard removing a tarp that covered a portion of the vessel. The crew provided the updated location of the vessel to partner agencies.
Two Panamanian Naval aircraft and a Panamanian Interceptor boat responded and arrived on scene to assist.
After spotting the aircraft and vessel, the individuals onboard the go-fast began dumping the suspected contraband into the sea. The go-fast departed the area after dumping over 80 bales of contraband, later identified as cocaine.
The Panamanian Navy interdicted the go-fast, and took five Colombians into custody. In addition, 8,791 pounds of cocaine was recovered from the scene, at an estimated wholesale value of $114.6 million.
The National Air Security Operations Center-Jacksonville forms half of the P-3 operations wing, along with its partner center in Corpus Christi, Texas. These P-3 aircraft operate throughout North and South America in defense of the borders of the United States and to prevent attempts to smuggle persons or contraband. The center is an active partner with FEMA, the U.S. Department of Energy and NORAD in times of national crisis such as Hurricane Harvey or post 9/11.
AMO is a federal law enforcement organization dedicated to serving and protecting the American people through advanced aeronautical and maritime capabilities. AMO interdicts unlawful people and cargo approaching U.S. borders, investigates criminal networks and provides domain awareness in the air and maritime environments, and responds to contingencies and national taskings. With approximately 1,800 federal agents and mission support personnel, 240 aircraft and 300 marine vessels operating throughout the United States, Puerto Rico, and U.S. Virgin Islands, AMO serves as the nation’s experts in airborne and maritime law enforcement.
In Fiscal Year 2018, AMO enforcement actions resulted in the approximate seizure or disruption of 283,503 pounds of cocaine; 301,553 pounds of marijuana; 180,444 pounds of methamphetamine; 872 weapons and $34.2 million. AMO enforcement actions also facilitated 2,373 arrests and 47,744 apprehensions of illegal aliens.
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 official ports of entry. CBP is charged with securing the borders of the United States while enforcing hundreds of laws and facilitating lawful trade and travel.