JACKSONVILLE, Fla.— An Air and Marine Operations (AMO) P-3 Orion Long Range Tracker crew was conducting maritime patrols in the Eastern Pacific when they detected a surface target of interest on Dec. 2.
The vessel was identified as a 35-foot long Ecuadorian style boat with three individuals onboard, which appeared to have engine trouble.
The individuals onboard the boat jettisoned two fuel barrels and multiple bails once they spotted the AMO aircraft. A U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) cutter responded to the information and launched a helicopter for assistance in the interception of the vessel.
USCG intercepted the vessel and confirmed the individuals onboard were all Colombian citizens. A total of 1,150 kgs. of cocaine were seized from the event.
The National Air Security Operations Center-Jacksonville forms half of the P-3 operations wing. With its partner center in Corpus Christi, Texas, Jacksonville operates P-3 aircraft throughout North and South America in defense of the borders of the United States and in active prosecution of 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 2017, AMO enforcement actions resulted in the approximate seizure or disruption of 269,790 pounds of cocaine, 384,230 pounds of marijuana, 5,721 pounds of methamphetamine, 1,089 weapons, and $26.1 million; 2,573 arrests; and 37,009 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.