US CBP AMO Intercepts Vessel with 1,455 Pounds of Cocaine in Northern Puerto Rico

US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Air and Marine Operations (AMO), intercepted Wednesday a vessel transporting 1,455 Pounds (660 Kilograms) of cocaine and arresting four non-citizens from the Dominican Republic north of Rio Grande, Puerto Rico.  The estimated value of the contraband is approximately $15.1 million. 

“In less than a week Air and Marine Interdiction agents have interfered with the introduction of almost 5,000 pounds of cocaine into the island,” stated Augusto Reyes, Director of Air and Marine Operations in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.  “Their maritime domain awareness allows for continued success in deterring these attempts from Transnational Criminal Organizations.”

The crew of an AMO Multirole Enforcement Aircraft (MEA) detected a 30ft Yola type vessel, with four persons on board and large packages, approximately 8 nautical miles north of Las Picuas Rio Grande, Puerto Rico.

The MEA maintained visual surveillance of the vessel while assisting AMO Marine units intercept the vessel.  The vessel occupants started throwing bales to the water.

The Yola started to sink due to the sea conditions, at which point AMO contacted Puerto Rico Police Department FURA units to provide assistance in the recovery of the bales.  Agents recovered 18 bales from the water and detained the four men on board the vessel before the vessel sank.

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) received custody of the contraband and the four individuals for investigation and prosecution.

On April 1, AMO intercepted a vessel transporting 3,051 Pounds (1384 Kilograms) of cocaine, arresting three non-citizens from Venezuela near Palmas de Mar, in the islands’ eastern coast.  Furthermore, on Mar. 30, AMO intercepted a vessel near Mona Island with 6 bales of cocaine and arrested 2 men from the Dominican Republic.