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CBP intercepts cocaine worth more than $500 million

By JohnThomas Didymus     Jun 1, 2013 in Crime
US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced Wednesday that they have intercepted two speedboats and recovered cocaine worth more than $500 million, a major Memorial Day weekend drug bust.
Dough Garner, US Customs and Border Protection's director of national air security operations in Jacksonville, Florida, said: "These two disruptions are an example of the international cooperative law enforcement effort to disrupt transnational criminal activity and deny their profiting from such activity."
The first interception occurred on Friday, May 24, during the Memorial Day weekend, north of the Galapagos Islands, West of Ecuador in the Pacific Ocean. A CBP P-3 air surveillance crew, from the National Air Security Operations Center in Jacksonville, FL., spotted a 30-foot speedboat in the Eastern Pacific.
When the crew aboard the speed boat realized they had been spotted, they began throwing packages of cocaine over the side and began washing the boat to eliminate all traces of the drug.
The Customs and Border Protection crew called a law enforcement helicopter which tracked down the boat. The officers fired at the boat and disabled it. They seized 3 tons of cocaine worth $82 million and arrested three suspects.
The next day, on the evening of May 25, a CBP crew spotted a three-engine speedboat in the Western Caribbean close to the Panamanian and Colombian border. When the crew realized they had been detected, they tried to evade law enforcement agents by hugging the Panamanian coastline, meandering "in and out of shoals and other obstructions."
CBP officials alerted the Panamanian authorities who intercepted the boat and seized more than 100 packages of cocaine worth more than $445 million and weighing more than 6,000 pounds.
Garner said: "Our P-3 crews are actively supporting Joint Interagency Task Force-South and partner nations to disrupt the transport of narcotics to the US. These two disruptions are an example of the international cooperative law enforcement effort to disrupt transnational criminal activity and deny their profiting from such activity."
The Custom and Border Protection Office of Air and Marine crews (CBP OAM), known as P-3s, are involved in counter-narcotic operations in collaboration with the Joint Interagency Task Force–South (JIATFS). The P-3s patrol a 42-million-square-mile area of the Western Caribbean and Eastern Pacific, known as the Source and Transit Zone, as part of efforts to intercept drugs in transit to the US.
According to the CBP, in 2012, P-3 crews seized about 59 tons of cocaine with an estimated value of $8.8 billion.
The P-3s monitor known air, land and maritime smuggling routes. They conduct surveillance beyond US borders to intercept consignments before they reach US shores.
More about Cocaine, Customs and Border Protection, Us customs and border protection agency, Custom and Border Protection Office of Air and Mar
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