A U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Office reconnaissance P-3 airplane, operating out of National Air Security Operations Center-Jacksonville (NASOC-JAX), detected two go-fast vessels carrying more than 2,200 kilograms of cocaine with a combined value of more than $362 million.
On April 20, a P-3 operating in the Western Caribbean spotted two go-fast vessels 120 miles off the coast of Panama. The two 40-foot twin-engine vessels were spotted speeding north and appeared to be loaded with numerous packages when the Florida-based CBP P-3 began tracking them.
Local law enforcement assets were vectored in to pursue the two vessels, which attempted to evade authorities. One vessel abandoned the contraband before arriving on shore, while the second go-fast was seized nearby. A U.S. Navy vessel operating in the area retrieved 89 bales of cocaine from the scene.
This seizure is in addition to the $2.8 billion detected by the CBP P-3s operating out of Jacksonville, Fla. and Corpus Christi, Texas since October 2011.
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.