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DEA and CBP’s AMO Team Up To Seize 25 Pounds of Cocaine Off Coast of Fajardo, Puerto Rico

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SAN JUAN — U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Air and Marine Operations (AMO) agents seized  25 pounds (11.4 kilos) of cocaine in a backpack concealed inside the center console of a private vessel arriving at the Las Croabas boat ramp on Wednesday. The estimated wholesale value of the seized narcotics is $175,000.

“AMO crews dedicate many hours in the maritime environment to detect and deter smuggling attempts within a very complex environment,” said Johnny Morales, Director of Air Operations.

An AMO Fajardo Marine Unit interceptor crew conducted an interview with the operator of a vessel arriving at the Las Croabas public boat ramp. The vessel had navigated from Culebra Island despite very rough seas conditions. Do to the suspicious nature of the voyage agents conducted a thorough dockside interview with the operator of the vessel.   

A CBP K9 alerted positive to the presence of narcotics near the center console of the vessel, and subsequently alerted positive to a backpack inside the center console. A search of the backpack revealed 10 bricks of powder that field-tested positive for the properties of cocaine.

Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) assumed custody of the boat operator, 10 bricks of suspected cocaine and the vessel for further investigation. 

AMO is a federal law enforcement organization dedicated to serving and protecting the American people through advanced aeronautical and maritime capabilities.  With approximately 1,800 federal agents and mission support personnel, 240 aircraft, and 300 marine vessels operating throughout the United States, Puerto Rico, and U.S. Virgin Islands, AMO conducts its mission in the air and maritime environments at and beyond the border, and within the nation’s interior.

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The Author

John McCarthy

John McCarthy

John McCarthy has been reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands and the Caribbean region since 1989. John's articles have appeared in the BVI Beacon, St. Croix Avis, San Juan Star and Virgin Islands Daily News. He is originally from Detroit, Michigan.

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