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Air and Marine Operations & Partners Seize Nearly 5 Tons of Cocaine In 4 Days

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U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Air and Marine Operations (AMO) operates the P-3 AEW aircraft to perform a wide variety of operational missions, especially those that require long station time overhead, hemispheric range, and inclement weather and environmental conditions. USCBP Image
U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Air and Marine Operations (AMO) operates the P-3 AEW aircraft to perform a wide variety of operational missions, especially those that require long station time overhead, hemispheric range, and inclement weather and environmental conditions. USCBP Image

Texas Border Business

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WASHINGTON–U.S. Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine Operations  P-3 crews worked with federal partners to seize 9,652 pounds (4.8 tons) of cocaine over three events Oct. 7 – 10, denying transnational criminal organizations approximately $127 million in proceeds.  

On Oct. 7, a P-3 aircrew responded to a report of a suspicious boat in the Eastern Pacific. After monitoring the watercraft, AMO agents contacted two partner nation maritime crews, who deployed to the scene, locating a debris field containing 44 bales of cocaine, weighing approximately 3,364 pounds.

Another P-3 crew assumed monitoring of a suspect go-fast vessel in the Caribbean Sea on Oct. 9. AMO agents contacted a partner nation maritime crew to interdict the watercraft. The maritime team detained three people and seized 58 bales of contraband, which weighed approximately 3,031 pounds of cocaine.  

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The next day, a P-3 crew operating in the Eastern Pacific responded to a report of a suspicious vessel. AMO agents located the vessel and coordinated with partner nation maritime teams. They detained three people, seizing approximately 3,257 pounds of cocaine.  

P-3 aircrews operate throughout North, Central and South America in defense of U.S. borders to prevent smuggling attempts, and are a vital asset within AMO’s National Air Security Operations program.  

AMO P-3 capabilities are vital in partnership with U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) operations. This partnership bolsters support to U.S. and international law enforcement by sharing information and intelligence to help detect and disrupt targets. 

In fiscal year 2022, AMO enforcement actions resulted in 967 arrests and 134,981 apprehensions of undocumented individuals, as well as the seizure or disruption of 250,616 pounds of cocaine, 1,475 pounds of fentanyl, 25,625 pounds of methamphetamine, 1,342 weapons, and $21.7 million. 

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