An Air and Marine Operations (AMO) National Air Security Operations MQ-9 Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) crewed by AMO personnel and U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) members worked with Joint Interagency Task Force — South and international partners to seize 2,646 pounds of cocaine and detain three people in the Eastern Pacific on March 17. This counterdrug collaboration between AMO, federal, and international law enforcement partners resulted in a narcotics seizure that denied transnational criminal organizations an estimated $30million U.S. dollars wholesale value.
The UAS team detected a go-fast vessel suspected of involvement in the transportation of narcotics through the Eastern Pacific transit zone. The team notified partner nation law enforcement forces and guided them to the location of the suspect vessel. International partners seized 2,646 pounds of cocaine on board the vessel and apprehended three Columbian nationals.
AMO operates the MQ-9 UAS to increase domain awareness in the land and maritime environments. The UAS platforms are remotely piloted, high-endurance assets that can be equipped with radar and camera sensors. The MQ-9 serves a vital role in various mission sets including low profile aerial surveillance, land border security, maritime surface detection and monitoring, and national disaster relief efforts.