A Coast Guard aircrew combined efforts with U.S. Border Patrol agents during a drug smuggling event Saturday that resulted in the seizure of 157 pounds (71 Kilos) of cocaine and the arrest of two suspected smugglers from the Dominican Republic near Villa Montana in Isabela, Puerto Rico.
The estimated wholesale value of the seized cocaine is $1.9 million.
The joint collaboration is the result of ongoing Caribbean Border Interagency Group CBIG multiagency efforts in their common goal of securing the borders of Puerto Rico against illegal threats.
“We continue to disrupt and apprehend smugglers that attempt to smuggle people and narcotics across our borders,” indicated Xavier Morales, Chief Patrol Agent for the Ramey Sector. ”
“Once our crew located the vessel, U.S. Border Patrol responded quickly to seize the suspects and narcotics. Our partnership is integral to protecting our shores and keeping our community safe,” said Lt. Karl Alejandre, Coast Guard Air Station Miami HC-144 Ocean Sentry aircraft commander.
While on a routine patrol Saturday night, the crew of a Coast Guard aircraft detected a suspect 21-foot go-fast vessel, approximately four nautical miles northwest of Aguadilla, Puerto Rico. Coast Guard watchstanders in Sector San Juan alerted the U.S. Border Patrol from Ramey Sector and placed the Coast Guard aircrew in direct communication with responding Border Patrol units ashore. While maintaining aerial surveillance of the vessel, the Coast Guard aircrew vectored-in the Border Patrol units to the location where the suspected smugglers made landfall. Shortly thereafter, the Border Patrol agents, which included a K-9 unit, apprehended the two men and seized 58 packages of cocaine.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement – Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI) assumed custody the contraband and the suspected smugglers for investigation and prosecution.