Photo: Customs and Border Protection (Steven Green)
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Office of Air and Marine (OAM) and its interagency partners disrupted two separate maritime smuggling attempts, March 8 and March 9, resulting in the interdiction of more than 1,300 pounds of cocaine with a street value of more than $90 million.
“This latest disruption highlights the importance of cooperation with our international partners and demonstrates the capabilities of the CBP P-3 aircraft and crews which continue to disrupt the smuggling activities of Transnational Criminal Organizations,” said Tom Salter, director National Air Security Operations Center, at Corpus Christi.
On March 8, an OAM crew aboard a P-3 was on patrol in the Eastern Pacific as a part of a Joint Interagency Task Force South (JIATF-S) mission when they detected a go-fast vessel 120 miles off the coast of Guatemala. The 30-foot twin-engine vessel was spotted speeding north and appeared to be loaded with numerous packages.
The CBP crew vectored in a U.S. Navy P-3 aircraft to pursue the speedboat which attempted to evade authorities. Guatemalan law enforcement was able to intercept the vessel and tow it back for further inspection. The CBP crew was credited with the disruption of more than 650 pounds of cocaine.
The following day, March 9, an OAM P-3 crew detected a suspicious boat near Guatemala and provided its location to JIATF-S participants. These interagency partners, using the information provided by the OAM crew, found and intercepted the boat which was carrying 661 pounds of cocaine.