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US customs agents intercept thousands of pounds of cocaine in Caribbean Sea

US customs agents intercept thousands of pounds of cocaine in Caribbean Sea

NEW YORK: The United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency says its Air and Marine Operations (AMO) detected multiple drug-smuggling vessels with 4,735 pounds of cocaine as part of Operation Full Court Press in the Caribbean Sea with interagency partners.

On Wednesday CBP said the estimated wholesale value of the drugs is US$61.7 million.

CBP said crews from Miami Air and Marine Branch and Caribbean Air and Marine Branch used “sophisticated maritime surveillance equipment to detect multiple drug-smuggling vessels as part of multi-agency operations around the holidays.”

It’s reported that the discovery was made between December 18 and December 22.

CBP said Operation Full Court Press is an Air and Marine Operations Southeast Region led operation leveraging interagency partnerships to target maritime smuggling organisations responsible for cocaine trafficking throughout the Caribbean to the United States and elsewhere for distribution.

“Air and Marine Operations Southeast Region area of responsibility extends eastward from southeast Texas to the US Virgin Islands, which includes the waters of the Gulf of Mexico and a large portion of the Caribbean Sea,” said Southeast Region Executive Director Eric Rembold.

“It is, therefore, necessary to closely coordinate law enforcement operations with our interagency and international partners to extend the nation’s borders further away from the geographic border in order to dramatically increase our detection capabilities and the apprehension of illicit smuggling ventures prior to making landfall,” he added.

 In 2017 CBP said AMO enforcement actions resulted in the approximate seizure or disruption of 269,790 pounds of cocaine; 384,230 pounds of marijuana; 5,721 pounds of methamphetamine; 1,089 weapons and US$26.1 million; 2,573 arrests; and 37,009 apprehensions of illegal migrants.

“Air and Marine Operations in Florida and the Caribbean continues to leverage interagency partnerships to disrupt transnational organized crime and drug trafficking,” said Martin Wade, Director of the Miami Air and Marine Branch. “The mission is to serve and protect the American people, and we’ll continue to apply advanced aeronautical and maritime capabilities preserving America’s security interests.”