U.S. Navy Combat Aircrew (CAC) 9, a P-3C of Patrol Squadron 26, aided with the experience of embarked members from VP-10, along with U.S. Coast Guard and Canadian forces intercepted approximately 530 kilograms of cocaine during a maritime interdiction on Feb. 2.
Operating in international airspace over the Eastern Pacific Ocean off the coast of Guatemala, the aircrew noticed a suspicious small vessel traveling at a high rate of speed through rough seas. The P-3C aircrew tracked the vessel and remained on station until a Canadian CP-140 relieved them.
After noting suspicious structures on the craft, the Coast Guard Cutter Bertholf was vectored in to board and search the vessel. Upon inspection, more than 530 kilograms of cocaine worth an estimated $17 million was found and seized.
The seizure comes at the beginning of a seven-month deployment for the Tridents. CAC-9 was flying the mission as part of an orientation and theater indoctrination mission in conjunction with VP-10 aircrewmen when the suspected smuggling boat was spotted.
Counter smuggling operations in the region are conducted as part of Operation Martillo.