Air and Marine Operations (AMO) aircrew members from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) assisted the U.S. Coast Guard in the seizure of nearly 1,600 pounds of cocaine being smuggled in small boats from Ecuador. The seizures are estimated to be valued in excess of $20 million.
Operating P-3 Orion aircraft assigned to the National Air Security Operations Center (NASOC) in Jacksonville, Florida, AMO aircrew members began tracking a 35-foot panga boat in the Eastern Pacific ocean. The vessel appeared to be riding low in the water despite only three people being onboard, according to information obtained from CBP officials. The aircrew notified the U.S. Navy and Coast Guard about the suspected drug-smuggling boat.
The following day, a Coast Guard vessel interdicted the boat and carried out a search. Onboard, were three Ecuadorian nationals, officials stated. The search resulted in the discovery of approximately 1,585 pounds of cocaine.
Breitbart News reached out to CBP officials and learned that the estimated value of the seized cocaine is approximately $20.7 million.
The National Air Security Operations unit in Jacksonville teams up with its partners located in Corpus Christi, Texas, to provide air interdiction flights to prevent seaborn drug-smuggling efforts in the Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea. The aircraft operate throughout North and South America, officials stated. AMO utilizes 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. During Fiscal Year 2017 their missions resulted in the seizure of approximately 269,790 pounds of cocaine, 384,230 pounds of marijuana, 5,721 pounds of methamphetamine, and nearly 1,100 weapons. They also made 2,573 arrests, seized $26.1 million in cash, and apprehended 37,009 illegal aliens, CBP officials reported.
Bob Price serves as associate editor and senior political news contributor for the Breitbart Border team. He is an original member of the Breitbart Texas team. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX and Face