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U.S. Customs Investigating Where Half Ton Of Cocaine Came From

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SAN JUAN – Federal authorities in Puerto Rico are investigating the origin of almost a half-ton of cocaine seized last week from a shipping container at San Juan port, officials said Saturday.

In a statement, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection said officers found 910 pounds (413 kilograms) of cocaine worth an estimated $11.5 million during an inspection after an X-ray of the container revealed irregularities. Several brick-shaped objects wrapped in plastic bags contained a substance that tested positive for cocaine.

CBP Public Affairs Officer Jeffrey Quinones said in a telephone interview that the seizure occurred on a domestic container headed toward the continental U.S.

“We did a random inspection of domestic containers. It is not something we do normally, but we do it every so often randomly,” Quinones said.

Quinones said authorities didn’t want to give any additional information because Homeland Security Investigations special agents are probing the matter.

In a separate bust on Feb. 21, authorities seized 796 pounds of cocaine worth $8 million at sea east of Puerto Rico and arrested 10 people. Federal authorities in San Juan said narcotic seizures increased 93 percent to 48,572 pounds during fiscal year 2015.

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The Author

John McCarthy

John McCarthy

John McCarthy is primarily known for his investigative reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands. A series of reports beginning in the 1990's revealed that there was everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling. Another report, following Hurricane Hugo in 1989, cited a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) confidential overview that said that over 40 percent of the U.S. Virgin Islands public lives below the poverty line. The Virgin Islands Free Press is the only Caribbean news source to regularly incorporate the findings of U.S. Freedom of Information Act requests. John's articles have appeared in the BVI Beacon, St. Croix Avis, San Juan Star and Virgin Islands Daily News. He is the former news director of WSVI-TV Channel 8 on St. Croix.

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