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Submarine and boat busts in Caribbean yield more than $1 billion in cocaine

By: Mark Rockwell

In three separate incidents in seven days off the coasts of Nicaragua and Panama in late March, U.S. border protection aircraft helped run down three vessels carrying almost nine tons of cocaine worth about $1.3 billion.

The huge haul came only two weeks after two more boatloads of the drug worth over half a billion dollars were intercepted by CBP aircraft in the same region.

In two days in late March, Customs and Border Protection said P-3 interdiction aircraft operating out of National Air Security Operations Centers in Jacksonville, FL, and Corpus Christi, TX, helped intercept a Self Propelled Semi-Submersible (SPSS) carrying close to 14,000 pounds of cocaine, and two go-fast vessels carrying more than 4,400 pounds of cocaine. The agency estimated the combined cargo was worth more than $1.3 billion.

On March 29, two P-3s operating in the Western Caribbean assisted the Joint Interagency Task Force-South (JIATF-S) in finding and tracking a SPSS off the coast of Nicaragua, said the agency. The crew scuttled the SPSS but authorities recovered 13,889 pounds of cocaine worth more than $1 billion.

A day later, on March 30, a P-3 operating in the western Caribbean spotted a go-fast vessel carrying suspicious bales, said CBP. The 40-foot twin-engine vessel was spotted speeding north off the coast of Panama and appeared to be carrying a load of packages when the Florida-based CBP P-3 began tracking the vessel. A local law enforcement patrol boat was sent in to board the vessel and uncovered 2,200 pounds of cocaine worth approximately $164 million were recovered.

Several days after that, on April 4, a P-3 on routine patrol spotted an open-hull go-fast vessel carrying rectangular bales off the coast of Panama. Local law enforcement officials were called in to pursue, and after boarding the vessel, 2,200 pounds of cocaine worth approximately $164 million were seized and four crewmembers were arrested.

During fiscal year 2011, CBP said its P-3 fleet seized or disrupted more than 148,000 pounds of cocaine valued at more than $11.1 billion, totaling 20.6 pounds seized for every flight hour, valued at $1.5 million for every hour flown.

 

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A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

By: Mark Rockwell

In three separate incidents in seven days off the coasts of Nicaragua and Panama in late March, U.S. border protection aircraft helped run down three vessels carrying almost nine tons of cocaine worth about $1.3 billion.

The huge haul came only two weeks after two more boatloads of the drug worth over half a billion dollars were intercepted by CBP aircraft in the same region.

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In two days in late March, Customs and Border Protection said P-3 interdiction aircraft operating out of National Air Security Operations Centers in Jacksonville, FL, and Corpus Christi, TX, helped intercept a Self Propelled Semi-Submersible (SPSS) carrying close to 14,000 pounds of cocaine, and two go-fast vessels carrying more than 4,400 pounds of cocaine. The agency estimated the combined cargo was worth more than $1.3 billion.

On March 29, two P-3s operating in the Western Caribbean assisted the Joint Interagency Task Force-South (JIATF-S) in finding and tracking a SPSS off the coast of Nicaragua, said the agency. The crew scuttled the SPSS but authorities recovered 13,889 pounds of cocaine worth more than $1 billion.

A day later, on March 30, a P-3 operating in the western Caribbean spotted a go-fast vessel carrying suspicious bales, said CBP. The 40-foot twin-engine vessel was spotted speeding north off the coast of Panama and appeared to be carrying a load of packages when the Florida-based CBP P-3 began tracking the vessel. A local law enforcement patrol boat was sent in to board the vessel and uncovered 2,200 pounds of cocaine worth approximately $164 million were recovered.

Several days after that, on April 4, a P-3 on routine patrol spotted an open-hull go-fast vessel carrying rectangular bales off the coast of Panama. Local law enforcement officials were called in to pursue, and after boarding the vessel, 2,200 pounds of cocaine worth approximately $164 million were seized and four crewmembers were arrested.

During fiscal year 2011, CBP said its P-3 fleet seized or disrupted more than 148,000 pounds of cocaine valued at more than $11.1 billion, totaling 20.6 pounds seized for every flight hour, valued at $1.5 million for every hour flown.