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Coast Guard Intercepts 200 Pounds of Cocaine Worth $3 Million Off Puerto Rico

SAN JUAN — The U.S. Coast Guard and Puerto Rican police stopped a speed boat Tuesday night smuggling 200 pounds of cocaine authorities say is worth about $3 million.

The speed boat was first seen by the crew of a Coast Guard HC-144 Ocean Sentry plane based in Miami.

It was heading south about 20 nautical miles of Isabela, Puerto Rico. The cutter Margaret Norvell was in the area and launched one of its patrol boats to intercept the vessel.

“Tonight’s success was a total team effort,” said Lt. Carl Luxhoj, Air Station Borinquen MH-65 helicopter pilot.  “The combined air support from both the fixed wing and rotary wing aircrews made the surface intercept of the suspect vessel possible.  The recovery of evidence would not have been possible without the support of the Puerto Rico Police Department (FURA).  The outstanding coordination from all involved prevented illegal migrants and contraband from reaching American soil.”

Before the boat stopped, its crew of four men ditched bales of what turned out to be cocaine into the water.

The speed boat stopped north of Arecibo, Puerto Rico, and the four men on board, who are from the Dominican Republic, were arrested by the Coast Guard.

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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everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling.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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