U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Air and Marine Operations (AMO) worked with their federal and international partners to seize nearly 21,000 pounds of cocaine and 1,300 pounds of marijuana in international waters between October 1 and November 17, denying transnational criminal organizations an estimated $396 million in proceeds.
AMO has P-3 NASO Centers located in Jacksonville, FL and Corpus Christi, TX. P-3 aircrews operate throughout North, Central and South America in defense of the borders of the United States to prevent attempts to smuggle persons or contraband and are vital in partnership with U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) detection and monitoring operations. This partnership bolsters support to U.S. and international law enforcement by sharing information and intelligence to help identify, track and disrupt suspected illicit trafficking targets.
Several significant seizures involving AMO National Air Security Operations Center P-3 crews and SOUTHCOM partners occurred in the Caribbean and Eastern Pacific during the reporting timeframe:
On November 5, a P-3 Airborne Early Warning crew departed San Juan, Puerto Rico and responded to a request to aid search for bales that had been jettisoned by maritime drug smugglers in the Caribbean. The aircrew located a debris field and guided partner nation law enforcement teams to recover 156 floating cocaine bales with a reported at-sea weight of 11,281 pounds.
On November 6, a P-3 Airborne Early Warning crew responded to a report of a suspect go-fast vessel. The aircrew tracked the vessel and guided in a partner nation law enforcement team who seized 28 bales of cocaine that composed a weight of 1,757 pounds.
On November 10, P-3 Long Range Tracker and Airborne Early Warning crews responded to a report of a suspect vessel. An AMO P-3 crew guided a partner nation maritime law enforcement team to interdict. Partners seized 9 bales of cocaine with an at-sea weight of 6,852 pounds.
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 2021, AMO enforcement actions resulted in 1,119 arrests and 122,035 apprehensions of undocumented individuals as well as the seizure or disruption of 324,772 pounds of cocaine, 779,725 pounds of marijuana, 18,548 pounds of methamphetamine, 900 weapons, and $73.3 million.