US AMO Seizes Cocaine Haul Worth $17.6M Concealed inside Vessel Near Vieques, Puerto Rico

US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Air and Marine Operations (AMO) agents seized 1,299 pounds (589.4 Kilos) of cocaine from a vessel inspected on Wednesday evening.  The estimated value of the seized cocaine is $17.6 million.

“Transnational criminal organizations try to move their illicit contraband through various means,” indicated Hector Rojas, Acting Director of the Caribbean Air and Marine Branch. “Our agents will continue to use our advanced aeronautical and maritime capabilities to detect and interdict them throughout our coastal borders.”

On June 9, an AMO Fajardo Marine Unit stopped a 26-foot center console Mako vessel navigating southwest, about 4 nautical miles north of Vieques. The vessel had one occupant.

The vessel was escorted to the Fajardo Marine boathouse for full inspection.  Inside the vessel agents found hidden compartments where they found a total of 516 bricks.  A field test resulted in the identification of cocaine.

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) assumed custody of the boat occupant and the contraband for investigation.

“Federal, state and local law enforcement agencies continue to work together to secure our island’s borders. It’s a non-stop effort that constantly disrupts these drug trafficking organizations and in doing so we help make our communities safer”.  Said John Kanig, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the DEA Caribbean Division.