Bombardier DHC-8

US Customs and Border Protection Seizes 1.5 Tons of Cocaine, Disrupting Transnational Smuggling Operations

US Customs and Border Protection’s Air and Marine Operations, collaborating with partners in the Eastern Pacific, successfully seized 1.5 tons of cocaine on March 2, thwarting transnational criminal organizations’ attempts and denying them an estimated $40,521,700 in profits.

A Houston Air and Marine Branch Maritime Patrol Aircraft detected a suspicious vessel while operating alongside Joint Interagency Task Force-South and international partners in the narcotics smuggling source and transit zone. The aircrew maintained vigilant surveillance and communication with maritime teams. Following this, an international partner team intercepted the vessel, apprehended five individuals, and confiscated approximately 3,081 pounds of cocaine.

Todd C. Rowell, Director of Air and Marine Operations at the Houston Air and Marine Branch, emphasized the significance of partnerships in the Southeast Region in halting the illicit flow of narcotics before they reach US borders. He stated, “Our aircrews will continue to be part of the enduring team effort to disrupt and stop maritime smuggling.”

The Bombardier DHC-8, a fixed-wing, medium-range multi-role patrol aircraft, played a crucial role in this operation. Well-suited for detecting, disrupting, and interdicting maritime smuggling, the DHC-8 is a key asset for Air and Marine Operations crews.

In Fiscal Year 2023, AMO’s enforcement actions yielded notable results, including 1,004 arrests and 89,909 apprehensions of undocumented individuals. Additionally, they seized or disrupted 256,883 pounds of cocaine, 2,049 pounds of fentanyl, 4,050 pounds of methamphetamine, 2,200 weapons, and $15.3 million.

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