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 southeast of Panama, when they located a 25-foot twin engine go-fast vessel and a debris field of suspected contraband on September 22.
The three visible occupants of the go-fast spotted the AMO aircraft and immediately fled the area. The AMO crew remained within sight of the debris field until a Panamanian law enforcement vessel arrived to secure and recover the floating bales.
Panamanian authorities seized the packages confirmed to have contained cocaine, weighing a total of 1,695 pounds and valued at over $22 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.