WASHINGTON, D.C.—On Feb. 27, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Office of Air and Marine (OAM) P-3 operating out of National Air Security Operations Center-Jacksonville, detected a go-fast vessel carrying 1,100 pounds of cocaine valued at more than $82 million.
The 35-foot twin-engine vessel was spotted speeding north off the coast of Panama and appeared to be loaded with numerous packages when the Florida-based CBP P-3 began tracking the vessel. Local foreign law enforcement assets were called in to board the vessel and after inspection, several dozen bales of cocaine were recovered.
During fy 2011, the CBP P-3 fleet continued its anti-smuggling success by seizing or disrupting more than 148,000 pounds of cocaine valued at more than $11.1 billion; 20.6 pounds seized for every flight hour, valued at $1.5 million for every hour flown.
CBP OAM P-3s have been an integral part of the successful counter-narcotic missions operating in coordination with the Joint Interagency Task Force - South (JIATFS). The P-3s patrol in a six million square mile area of the Western Caribbean and Eastern Pacific 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 on the Continental U.S., the P-3s detect and monitor illegal air, land, and maritime smuggling activities before they reach the shores.
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 the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.