Despite a historic partial government shutdown stretching 35 days, agents from the National Air Security Operations Center remained laser focused on doing what they do best—catching cocaine smugglers.
“Our folks are the best at what they do, 24/7, 365 days a year. They will always be fully dedicated to our mission, regardless of circumstances,” said Director of Air and Marine Operations Bob Blanchard.
Aircrews from the National Air Security Operations Center in Corpus Christi flew 271 hours on 49 missions and stopped almost 11,000 pounds of cocaine from reaching the United States during the shutdown. The narcotics had a wholesale value of $140,675,962. In addition to the counter drug flights, crews performed an airdrop of urgently needed medications to a sick crew member on a fishing vessel that was 760 miles from the nearest land mass.
The National Air Security Operations Center—Corpus Christi is a division of Air and Marine Operations and operates the Lockheed P-3 Orion conducting counter drug patrol missions over the Eastern Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. Together with the National Air Security Operations Center in Jacksonville, Florida, Customs and Border Protection P-3 crews seized or disrupted 261,939 pounds of cocaine in 2018.
The mission of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Air and Marine Operations is to serve and protect the American people. It applies advanced aeronautical and maritime capabilities and employs its unique skill sets to preserve America’s security interests. With 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, Air and Marine Operations uses its sophisticated fleets to detect, sort, intercept, track and apprehend criminals in diverse environments at and beyond U.S. borders.