Jacksonvile, USA — US Customs and Border Protection Office of Air and Marine (OAM) agents provided critical real-time surveillance capabilities as part of an interagency operation in the Caribbean Sea leading to the interdiction of a drug-trafficking vessel with 1,190 pounds of cocaine.
Crewmembers from the US Coast Guard Cutter Tahoma thwarted the illicit drug smuggling attempt in international waters and apprehended three individuals on September 9. The seizure is the latest in a series of interceptions as part of multi-agency operations targeting maritime drug activity in the Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico and the eastern Pacific Ocean.
In Fiscal Year 2014, CBP’s P-3s operating from Jacksonville, Florida, and Corpus Christi, Texas, led to the total seizure or disruption of 126,489 pounds of cocaine.
“Effectively detecting, monitoring and interdicting illicit traffickers involves close coordination with military and law enforcement partners,” said director of National Air Security Operations Center – Jacksonville, Robert Blanchard. “We’re committed to securing America’s maritime borders and disrupting smuggling and other illegal activity before it reaches our shores.”
Counter smuggling operations in the region are conducted as part of Operation Martillo. Operation Martillo includes the participation of 15 nations that work together to counter transnational organized crime and illicit trafficking in waters in the waters off Central America.
The international operation focuses on sharing information and bringing together air, land, and maritime assets from the US Department of Defense, the Department of Homeland Security, and Western Hemisphere and European partner nation agencies to counter illicit trafficking.
Joint Interagency Task Force South, a National Task Force under US Southern Command, oversees the detection and monitoring of illicit traffickers and assists US and multinational law enforcement agencies with the interdiction of these illicit traffickers.
The P-3 aircraft patrolling is based at OAM’s National Air Security Operations Center in Jacksonville, Florida. OAM P-3s have been an integral part of the successful counter-narcotic missions operating in coordination with JIATF South.