US CBP AMO Intercepts Vessel Near Desecheo Island Concealing Approximately 900 Pounds of Cocaine

Marine Interdiction Agents of US Customs and Border Protection’s Air and Marine Operations (AMO), intercepted Tuesday a 24-foot vessel with two local individuals transporting approximately 913 pounds (414 Kilograms) of cocaine, about 10 nautical miles south of Desecheo island.  The estimated value of the seized narcotics is approximately $9.5 million.

“Criminal organization seek to smuggle both migrants and contraband through the western coast of Puerto Rico,” stated Creighton Skeen, Acting Director of Air and Marine Operations at the Caribbean Air and Marine Branch (CAMB). “AMO continues to use its resources, technology, and maritime domain awareness to ensure there is a consequence for violating the laws of the United States.”

A Mayaguez Coastal Interceptor vessel crew received information about a suspicious vessel heading east towards the island’s west coast.   The agents located a white Cape Horn center console vessel near Desecheo with two occupants on board.   

The crew escorted the vessel to the Mayaguez Boat house for inspection, where Marine Interdiction Agents found a hidden compartment filled with 350 brick shaped packages. The white powderily substance contained within the bricks field tested positive to the properties of cocaine.  

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) assumed custody of the individuals and the contraband for further investigation and subsequent prosecution.

“These individuals pose the greatest threat to the safety and health of our citizens”, stated DEA’s Caribbean Division Special Agent in Charge Denise Foster. “We will continue to allocate all our law enforcement resources to make a greater impact in vulnerable areas where criminal organizations dedicated to drug trafficking are causing greater damage”.

In Fiscal Year 2023, AMO enforcement actions resulted in 1,004 arrests and 89,909 apprehensions of undocumented individuals, as well as the seizure or disruption of 256,883 pounds of cocaine, 2,049 pounds of fentanyl, 4,050 pounds of methamphetamine, 2,200 weapons, and $15.3 million.