US border agents make multi-million-dollar drug bust in Caribbean Sea

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JACKSONVILLE, Florida (CMC) — The United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency says crew from its Air and Marine Operations (AMO) P-3 Orion Long Range Tracker assigned to the National Air Security Operations Center-Jacksonville, Florida,  intercepted a vessel in the western Caribbean Sea loaded with an estimated US$49 million in cocaine.

On Thursday, CBP said on November 22, the crew was on routine patrol in the Caribbean Sea when it spotted a suspect go-fast vessel.

After contacting authorities, CBP said “Panamanian interceptors launched and a helicopter went airborne towards the location of the go-fast.”

Although the go-fast was beached along the shoreline and the occupants dispersed, CBP said 70 packages of contraband were found containing 3,747 pounds of cocaine worth US$49 million.

The following day – another vessel was intercepted and three persons on board were arrested and 2,511 pounds of cocaine worth an estimated US$33 million were seized.

With about 1,800 federal agents and mission support personnel, 240 aircraft and 300 marine vessels operating throughout the United States, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands, CBP said AMO serves as America’s experts in airborne and maritime law enforcement.

In Fiscal Year 2018, CBP said AMO enforcement actions resulted in the approximate seizure or disruption of 283,503 pounds of cocaine; 301,553 pounds of marijuana; 180,444 pounds of methamphetamine; 872 weapons and US$34.2 million.

AMO enforcement actions also facilitated 2,373 arrests and 47,744 apprehensions of illegal Caribbean and other immigrants.