US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Air and Marine Operations detected and seized a load of 2,776 pounds (1,259 kilograms) of cocaine found inside hidden compartments of two vessels that intended to reach the southern town Patillas Puerto Rico. The estimated street value of the seized cocaine is approximately $28.9 million.
“The southeastern coast of Puerto Rico has been targeted by Transnational Criminal Organizations to introduce large amounts of contraband using diverse tactics,” indicated Augusto Reyes, Director of Air and Marine Operations for the Caribbean Air and Marine Branch. “The resolve and hard work of our AMO agents have produced the interdiction of over 15,000 pounds of cocaine during these last five months, which our are now off the streets of Puerto Rico and the east coast of the United States.”
On the afternoon of June 15, the crew of an AMO Multi-Role Enforcement Aircraft (MEA) aircraft located two vessels navigating at high-speed northbound navigating towards the town of Patillas, Puerto Rico.
The MEA crew alerted AMO Marine units in Fajardo and Ponce, maintaining surveillance to intercept the vessels. Within US waters one Marine unit intercepted one twin engine vessel without resistance and arresting the two men on board. The other vessel initially failed to heave, later being stopped by an AMO Marine Unit.
A search of the two vessels revealed hidden compartments, retrieving bricks of cocaine.
Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) took custody of the narcotics for investigation and the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) arrested the four men for prosecution.
On May 28, AMO and Puerto Rico Police seized 4,616 pounds (2,094 kilograms) of cocaine found inside a vessel that landed in the southeastern coast of Puerto Rico.