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  4. Air and Marine Operations and Partners Seize 1.2 Tons of Cocaine in Eastern Pacific

Air and Marine Operations and Partners Seize 1.2 Tons of Cocaine in Eastern Pacific

Release Date
Thu, 04/29/2021

WASHINGTON – An Air and Marine Operations (AMO) National Air Security Operations Center , P-3 Long Range Tracker crew partnered with federal authorities to disrupt a smuggling attempt in the Eastern Pacific Ocean and seized 1.2 tons of cocaine, denying narcotics traffickers almost $44 million USD in illicit proceeds.

An AMO P-3 crew and international partners disrupted
a 1.2 ton cocaine smuggling event in the Eastern Pacific
in early April.

On April 4, a NASOC P-3, LRT crew, located a suspected smuggling vessel near South America while on patrol in the Eastern Pacific Ocean. The aircrew continued to monitor the vessel and vectored the Royal Canadian Navy’s HMCS Saskatoon small boat teams to intercept the suspect vessel. After an unsuccessful attempt to evade the Canadian small boats, U.S. Coast Guard teams boarded the vessel, detained 3 people, and seized approximately 2,315 pounds of cocaine.

NASOC P-3 capabilities continue to prove essential to law enforcement in support of SOUTHCOM counter narcotics operations to increase the disruption of drugs in the Western Hemisphere. This increased presence bolstered support to the U.S. and partner nation law enforcement by sharing information and intelligence to help expand target packages. Key partners have been involved in over 60% of drug disruptions since April 2020 (up from 50% in 2019).

AMO has two P-3 NASOCs, located in Jacksonville, FL and Corpus Christi, TX. These P-3 aircraft operate throughout North, Central and South America in defense of the borders of the United States and to prevent attempts to smuggle persons or contraband.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Air and Marine
Operations (AMO) operates the P-3 LRT aircraft which
perform a wide variety of operational missions,
especially those that require long station time overhead,
hemispheric range, and missions throughout all weather
and environmental conditions

AMO safeguards our Nation by anticipating and confronting security threats through our aviation and maritime law enforcement expertise, innovative capabilities, and partnerships at the border and beyond. 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 2020, AMO enforcement actions resulted in the seizure or disruption of 194,220 pounds of cocaine, 278,492 pounds of marijuana, 15,985 pounds of methamphetamine, 952 weapons and $51.5 million, 1,066 arrests, 47,872 apprehensions of undocumented migrants.


Last Modified: Oct 11, 2023