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CBP-AMO P-3 Orion and partners seize over 15 tons of cocaine

CBP-AMO P-3 Orion and partners seize over 15 tons of cocaine
Archive image: An AMO (Air and Marine Operations) P-3 Orion air crew based out of Jacksonville, Florida, conducts preflight checks prior to assessing damage in Louisiana on August 30, 2021, after Hurricane Ida made landfall.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection photo by Ozzy Trevino.

WASHINGTON D.C. — CBP-AMO (Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine Operations) National Air Security Operations Center P-3 Orion Long Range Tracker and Airborne Early Warning System aircrews worked with Joint Interagency Task Force-South and international partners to seize 30,535 pounds of cocaine and 7,877 pounds of marijuana in international waters between January 1 and March 31, 2022. During the second quarter of fiscal year 2022, AMO and partners denied transnational criminal organizations an estimated $419 million.

CBP-AMO crews frequently detect possible smuggling activity through long-range radar capabilities in maritime smuggling source and transit zones and have the ability to coordinate with a vast multi-agency network of federal and international partners to stop illicit trafficking attempts. For instance, on March 31, a P-3 Orion Long Range Tracker crew conducted a patrol over the Western Caribbean when agents detected a suspect go-fast vessel powered by three engines off the Panama coast. AMO agents notified SOUTHCOM partners, and an international team deployed to interdict. A SOUTHCOM partner aircrew assumed aerial patrol duties from the AMO P-3 team. A partner nation interceptor vessel crew towed the vessel to a pier where they seized nearly 5,000 pounds of cocaine worth nearly 66 million.

CBP-AMO has two P-3 Orion National Air Security Operations Centers located in Jacksonville, FL and Corpus Christi, TX. These P-3 aircraft operate throughout North, Central and South America in defense of the borders of the United States to prevent attempts to smuggle persons or contraband.

National Air Security Operations Center P-3 Orion capabilities are vital in partnership with United States Southern Command operations. This partnership bolsters support to U.S. and international law enforcement by sharing information and intelligence to help detect and disrupt targets.

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. With approximately 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, AMO serves as the nation’s experts in airborne and maritime law enforcement.

In Fiscal Year 2021, AMO enforcement actions resulted in 1,119 arrests and 122,035 apprehensions of undocumented individuals as well as the seizure or disruption of 324,772 pounds of cocaine, 779,725 pounds of marijuana, 18,548 pounds of methamphetamine, 900 weapons and $73.3 million.

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