JACKSONVILLE: U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Air and Marine Operations (AMO) aircrews detected a vessel carrying more than 1,200 pounds of cocaine in the Caribbean Sea as part of a targeted anti-drug effort in the region. The drugs have an estimated wholesale value of more than $16 million.CBP Air and Marine Operations P-3 aircrews
On March 8, CBP Air and Marine Operations agents aboard a CBP P-3 detected a suspicious vessel in international waters and relayed actionable information to Joint Interagency Task Force South (JIATF-South) partners operating in the area. Panamanian authorities intercepted the vessel, recovered the drugs and arrested two suspected drug smugglers.
The P-3 aircrew supporting the operation is based at CBP Air and Marine Operation’s National Air Security Operations Center in Jacksonville, Florida which recently completed its most successful counter narcotics operational year since its inception in 1999. In Fiscal Year 2015, Air and Marine Operation’s aircrews contributed to 198 seizure, disruption, or interdiction events in the transit zone resulting in the interdiction of 206,844 pounds of cocaine.
“CBP Air and Marine Operations agents are truly the best of the best and work in concert with international and interagency partners to disrupt the flow of illicit trafficking destined for the United States,” said Director of National Air Security Operations Center – Jacksonville Robert Blanchard. “CBP Air and Marine Operations will continue defending our nation’s borders against all manner of threats.”
Operation Martillo is an international operation focused on sharing information and bringing together air, land, and maritime assets from the U.S. Department of Defense, the Department of Homeland Security, and Western hemisphere and European partner nation agencies. U.S. military participation is led by Joint Interagency Task Force South, a component of U.S. Southern Command. Operation Martillo is one component in the United States government’s whole-of-government approach to countering the use of the Central American littorals as transshipment routes for illicit trafficking.
CBP Air and Marine Operations P-3 aircrews from Jacksonville, Florida, and Corpus Christi, Texas are the leading provider of airborne maritime radar surveillance to Joint Interagency Task Force South operations throughout the Americas and have been an integral part of joint successful counter-narcotic missions targeting illicit smuggling operations, weapons and human smuggling in the hemisphere.