Over a two-day period, agents from Air and Marine Operations (AMO) foiled an international attempt to smuggle nearly three-tons of cocaine across open waters between Feb. 28 and Mar. 2.
These efforts resulted in the capture of three suspects, the interception of the illicit narcotics valued at $76,456,839 and the seizure of two vessels.
AMO is a federal law enforcement organization dedicated to serving and protecting the American people through advanced aeronautical and maritime capabilities. AMO interdicts unlawful people and cargo approaching U.S. borders.
Flying aboard a P-3 aircraft, the AMO crew was patrolling the Eastern Pacific ocean as part of the Joint Interagency Task Force-South when they detected and tracked two go-fast vessels in a two-day period. The crew detected the first vessel Feb. 28 as it sat in open water.
The AMO crew, based at the National Air Security Operations Center – Corpus Christi, Texas, monitored the vessel as it began moving at a high-rate of speed. The crew alerted Costa Rican law enforcement agencies who pursued the vessel as its crew began dumping bales of cocaine overboard. The vessel was later found abandoned. Costa Rican authorities were able to recover the go-fast vessel and more than 2,600 pounds of cocaine valued at $34,474,930.
The P-3 crew was again patrolling the open waters on Mar. 2 when they spotted another go-fast vessel traveling at a high-rate of speed. After coordinating with Costa Rican law enforcement agencies, they dispatched two vessels to intercept the suspects, the cocaine-laden vessel, and the packages that had been thrown overboard. This interception resulted in the arrest of three suspects, the seizure of the vessel and more than 3,200 pounds of cocaine valued at nearly $42,000,000.