3 Dominicans With 816 Pounds Of Cocaine Nabbed By U.S. Coast Guard, CBP Near Puerto Rico
SAN JUAN — The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Air and Marine Operations (AMO) was involved in a $10 million drug bust in Caribbean waters recently.
The U.S. Coast Guard and CBP-AMO interdicted a “yola” type wooden vessel transporting 816 pounds (370 kilos) of cocaine in the Caribbean Sea and apprehended three Dominican Republic nationals.
CBP said the suspected drug smugglers were attempting to enter near Arecibo, Puerto Rico.
The estimated value of the seized narcotics is $10 million.
“Transnational criminal organizations attempt to smuggle narcotics in different locations throughout our island testing our resolve,” Johnny Morales, director, Air and Marine Operations for the Caribbean Air and Marine Branch, said. “Our agents continue to use advanced aeronautical and maritime capabilities to detect and interdict them throughout our coastal borders,” he added.
CBP said that, on the evening of November 23, AMO launched from the Caribbean Air and Marine Branch (CAMB) in order to conduct a border security patrol.
The Marine Patrol Aircraft (MPA) crew detected the vessel that was without navigational lights.
It said MPA crew maintained surveillance, contacting U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Joseph Tezanos and a U.S. Coast Guard small vessel to intercept.
“This successful interdiction is the result of the hard work and dedication of the all the federal and state partners committed to eliminating illicit trafficking from the waters of Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands,” Captain Jose Diaz, deputy commander, said. “Keeping dangerous drugs off the streets save lives.”
As the U.S. Coast Guard boats approached the vessel, two men jumped into the water in order to evade arrest.
The Coast Guard stopped the vessel with one-man onboard, and found 13 bales of narcotics and one firearm. The two individuals were retrieved from the water.
The U.S. Coast Guard later “transported the contraband and the arrested individuals to Arecibo, Puerto Rico, where Caribbean Corridor Strike Force (CCSF) agents took custody for prosecution and investigation.”