US Customs Disrupts Smuggling Attempt In Caribbean Sea

(CMC) — The United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency said on Monday that its Air and Marine Operations (AMO) National Air Security Operations Center (NASOC) P-3 crew worked with US federal and international partners to disrupt a smuggling attempt in the Caribbean Sea in seizing more than quarter tonne of cocaine.

CBP said Dominican Republic (DOMREP) authorities successfully recovered the drugs in denying narcotics traffickers nearly US$8.8 million in illicit proceeds.

CBP said that, on January 20, a NASOC P-3 Airborne Early Warning (AEW) crew tracked a suspicious 25-foot go-fast vessel (GFV) with three individuals on board.

“US Air Force aircraft assumed surveillance of the suspect vessel from the P-3 crew and coordinated with Joint Interagency Task Force—South (JIATF—S) and DOMREP law enforcement interceptor vessels for interdiction,” CBP said. “Host nation authorities detained three individuals and seized 511 pounds of cocaine.”

CBP said this interdiction was conducted under Campaign Martillo, “a counter-narcotics operation to disrupt transnational criminal organizations that threaten global security and prosperity.”

Campaign Martillo is supported by the Miami-based SOUTHCOM, and led by JIATF—S, CBP said.

“AMO safeguards our nation by anticipating and confronting security threats through our aviation and maritime law enforcement expertise, innovative capabilities, and partnerships at the border and beyond,” it said.

“With approximately 1,800 federal agents and mission support personnel, 240 aircraft and 300 marine vessels operating throughout the United States, Puerto Rico, and US Virgin Islands, AMO serves as the nation’s experts in airborne and maritime law enforcement,” it added.

In fiscal year 2020, CBP said AMO enforcement actions resulted in the seizure or disruption of 194,220 pounds of cocaine, 278,492 pounds of marijuana, 15,985 pounds of methamphetamine, 952 weapons and US$51.5 million, 1,066 arrests and 47,872 apprehensions of illegal migrants.