CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — U.S. Customs and Border Protection helped stop attempts to smuggle almost three tons of cocaine across open waters between Feb. 28-March 2.

Their efforts resulted in the capture of three suspects and the interception of drugs valued at $76,456,839, along with the seizure of two vessels.

On February 28, an Air and Marine Operations crew based at National Air Security Operations Center-Corpus Christi was patrolling in a P-3 aircraft and spotted and monitored two high-speed vessels in open water.

The first vessel was spotted Feb. 28. The AMO crew alerted Costa Rican authorities who then pursued the vessel as its crew began dumping bales of cocaine overboard. The vessel was later found abandoned. Costa Rican authorities recovered the vessel and more than 2,600 pounds of cocaine, valued at $34,474,930.

The next vessel was spotted by the AMO crew on March 2. They again coordinated with Costa Rican authorities and intercepted the high-speed vessel, arresting three suspects and seizing more than 3,200 pounds of cocaine valued at nearly $42,000,000.

The National Air Security Operations Center - Corpus Christi is a division of Air and Marine Operations that operates the Lockheed P-3 Orion conducting counter-drug patrol missions over the Eastern Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. Together with the National Air Security Operations Center in Jacksonville, Fla., Customs and Border Protection P-3 crews seized or disrupted 261,939 pounds of cocaine in various operations conducted in 2018.

More from 3News on