US Forces Stop 570 Pounds of Cocaine off Panama

U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Office of Air and Marine agents and international partners intercepted a suspicious vessel loaded with 570 pounds of cocaine in international waters off the coast of Panama. The estimated street value of the drugs is more than $42 million.

A CBP OAM crew aboard a P-3 Orion fixed-wing aircraft detected a fast-moving panga-type vessel in open waters near Panama City on August 14. The agents provided overhead surveillance as Panamanian law enforcement moved in to intercept the vessel. Authorities arrested three individuals and seized multiple bales of cocaine on the drug-trafficking vessel.

In Fiscal Year 2014, CBP’s P-3s operating from Jacksonville, Florida and Corpus Christi, Texas, flew nearly 6,000 hours in support of counternarcotic missions resulting in 135 interdiction events of suspected smuggling vessels and aircraft. These events led to the total seizure or disruption of more than 126,000 pounds of cocaine with an estimated street value of $9.47 billion.

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Image: CBP