US Coast Guard assists in $194 million cocaine seizure

A U.S. Coast guard vessel seized around 5,800 kilograms of cocaine worth more than $193,939,000 in the Eastern Pacific Ocean on March 2.

The action, directed by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Air and Marine Operations agents, lead to the arrest of four drug traffickers.

The crew aboard a P-3 Long Range Tracker detected a self-propelled semi-submersible vessel March 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.

In 2015, AMO’s aircrews contributed to 198 seizure, disruption, or interdiction events in the transit zone, resulting in the interdiction of 213,000 pounds (913,081 kg) of cocaine.

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, California.