US CBP, FURA Seize 1,151 Pounds of Cocaine in Northern Puerto Rico

US Customs and Border Protection ( US CBP ) Air and Marine Operations (AMO) and Puerto Rico Police Joint Forces for Rapid Action (FURA) units seized Monday 1,151 pounds (522.1 kilos) of cocaine and arrested four non-citizens from the Dominican Republic attempting to smuggle contraband via northern Puerto Rico.  The estimated street value of the contraband is $12 million.

“Our collaboration with fellow law enforcement and our maritime domain awareness allows us to again be successful interdicting these smuggling attempts,” stated Augusto Reyes, Director of Air and Marine Operations in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. “Air and Marine Operations agents are determined to detect and intercept any attempts to smuggle contraband to our shores.”

On Mar. 6, AMO detected a “yola” type vessel traversing south towards Punta Picuas, Rio Grande. AMO requested assistance from FURA units to interdict.  The vessel failed to heave before two FURA units jettisoning bales during the pursuit.

AMO Marine Interdiction Agents reached Punta Picuas by land in case the vessel made landfall.  One FURA unit collided with the contraband vessel causing it to sink. 

FURA agents recovered and arrested one female and three males claiming to be citizens of the Dominican Republic. They also recovered six bales of contraband.

Rio Grande Boat March 2023

AMO and FURA units searched the area recovering 20 bales which field tested positive to the properties of cocaine.

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

On Monday February 27, AMO agents seized 2,351pounds (1006.5 kilos) of cocaine from a vessel attempting to reach the coast in southern Puerto Rico, with an estimated street value of $23 million. 

AMO safeguards our Nation by anticipating and confronting security threats through our aviation and maritime law enforcement expertise, innovative capabilities, and partnerships at the border and beyond.  With approximately 1,800 federal agents and mission support personnel, 240 aircraft, and 300 marine vessels operating throughout the United States, Puerto Rico, and U.S. Virgin Islands, AMO conducts its mission in the air and maritime environments at and beyond the border, and within the nation’s interior.