Attention Coke Heads! Feds sink sub with over five tons of cocaine
CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Air and Marine Operations (AMO) agents efforts in the Eastern Pacific Ocean lead to the arrest of four people and the disruption of more than 12,800 pounds of cocaine.
The cocaine had an estimated value of more than $193,939,000.
The crew aboard a P-3 Long Range Tracker detected a self-propelled semi-submersible vessel Mar. 2, while conducting counter-narcotics operations with Joint Interagency Task Force (JIATF) South.
The task force coordinated an interdiction of the semi-submersible with a U.S. Coast Guard vessel in the area while the AMO crew maintained constant visual surveillance. Upon interdiction, the U.S. Coast Guard arrested four individuals operating the vessel. The semi-submersible became unstable and sank.
“This type of cooperation and teamwork produces these kinds of results where suspects are arrested and narcotics prevented from reaching U.S. shores,” said Director John Wassong at the National Air Security Operations Center – Corpus Christi. “Our crews will continue to take every opportunity to disrupt this type of transnational criminal activity.”
CBP Air and Marine Operations P-3s are an integral part of the successful counternarcotic missions operating in coordination with JIATF South. AMO crews patrol within a 42-million-square-mile area which includes more than 41 nations and the Pacific Ocean, Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean Sea, and seaboard approaches to the United States.
In Fiscal Year 2015, AMO’s aircrews contributed to 198 seizure, disruption, or interdiction events in the transit zone, resulting in the interdiction of 213,000 pounds of cocaine.
Operation Martillo (Hammer) is a U.S., European, and Western Hemisphere effort targeting illicit trafficking routes in coastal waters along the Central American isthmus. U.S. military participation is led by Joint Interagency Task Force South, a component of U.S. Southern Command.
The U.S. contribution to the multinational detection, monitoring and interdiction operation includes U.S. Navy and Coast Guard vessels, aircraft from U.S. federal law enforcement agencies, and military and law enforcement units from various nations working together to deny transnational criminal organizations the ability to exploit these transshipment routes for the movement of narcotics, precursor chemicals, bulk cash, and weapons along Central American shipping routes.
Overall coordination of counter-drug patrols and surveillance in the Eastern Pacific is done by a joint interagency task force headquartered in Key West, Fla. U.S. maritime law enforcement and the interdiction phase of operations in the region occur under the tactical control of the 11th Coast Guard District headquartered in Alameda, Calif.
Feds find Heroin Hidden in Suitcase Lining
EL PASO, Texas – U.S. Customs and Border Protection Office of Field Operations agriculture specialists identified a suspicious piece of luggage leading CBP officers to a 6.2 pound heroin load late Friday. The estimated street value of the seized contraband is $198,400.
“CBP remains vigilant in its homeland security mission,” said Beverly Good, CBP El Paso Port Director. “Using various layers of enforcement CBP personnel are finding drugs, apprehending wanted people, and stopping illegal immigration at area ports on a daily basis.”
The seizure was made at approximately 9:40 p.m. March 18 when 53-year-old Jose Alfredo Alaniz entered the Paso Del Norte pedestrian inspection area. A CBP agriculture specialist X-rayed a piece of luggage the man was carrying and spotted anomalies in the appearance of the bag. CBP officers initiated an exam and noted that the suitcase seemed heavier than normal. A CBP drug sniffing dog searched the bag and alerted to the side walls. CBP officers continued their inspection and located three heroin-filled packages sewn into the lining of the luggage.
CBP officers arrested the man who is a resident of Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico. He was turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement HSI special agents to face charges associated with the failed drug smuggling attempt.
While anti-terrorism is the primary mission of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the inspection process at the ports of entry associated with this mission results in impressive numbers of enforcement actions in all categories.