Cocaine Seized from Three Vessels Off Panama
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Office of Air and Marine (OAM) P-3 aircraft together with interagency and international law enforcement partnerships, successfully intercepted three vessels smuggling illicit narcotics totalling more than 5,300 pounds of cocaine with an estimated value of $48.2 million on December 1 and 3.
The OAM P-3 aircrew detected a twin-engine 45 foot go-fast vessel off the Panama coast with three people on board that was later intercepted and found to contain 3,300 pounds of cocaine worth more than $30 million.
Two days later, a U.S. government aircraft detected two fishing vessels operating in open waters off the Panama coast and passed the details to a CBP P -3 aircraft crew patrolling in the region. After locating the fishing vessels, the P-3 crew monitored their activity to support intercept vessels. The vessels were found to contain 93 bricks of cocaine.
“These disruptions are the latest examples of our commitment to intercepting criminal activity before it reaches U.S. shores,” said Doug Garner, director of national air security operations center in Jacksonville. “In the first quarter of this fiscal year, OAM’s P-3 program has more than 20,000 pounds in cocaine disruptions valued at more than $1.5 billion.”
The P-3s’ distinctive detection capabilities allow highly-trained crews to identify emerging threats well beyond the land borders of the U.S. By providing surveillance of known air, land, and maritime smuggling routes in an area that is twice the size of the continental U.S., the P-3s detect, monitor and disrupt smuggling activities before they reach shore.