U.S. Customs and Border Protection Office of Air and Marine agents and interagency partners disrupted two separate drug smuggling attempts off the coast of Costa Rica resulting in the interdiction of more than $74 million in illegal drugs.
On Jan. 20, a Jacksonville-based OAM aircrew aboard a P-3 was on a patrol approximately 190 miles northwest of Isla de Coco when they detected a suspicious speedboat. U.S. Navy and U.S. Coast Guard aircraft continued to maintain surveillance until a maritime asset could intercept the smugglers. Three suspects were taken into custody and authorities recovered more than 954 pounds of cocaine.
On Jan. 18, an OAM P-3 crew was on a counterdrug patrol when they detected a suspicious go-fast vessel around 90 nautical miles east of Costa Rica. While tracking the vessel, the OAM P-3 crew observed the smugglers throwing 35 bales of contraband into the water. Costa Rican law enforcement intercepted the vessel, recovered 1,313 pounds of marijuana, and detained five crew members onboard.
Under the international counter illicit trafficking initiative Operation Martillo, U.S. military and law enforcement agencies and regional partner nations’ military and law enforcement agencies patrol the air and sea environments in the Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico and the Eastern Pacific on a year-round basis.