U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents, working jointly with Caribbean Corridor Strike Force (CCSF) officers seized Saturday approximately $27 million in cash at Pier 10 in San Juan.
As part of the operation that led to the multimillion cash seizure, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers conducted an outbound cargo inspection on board the Motor Vessel Norma H II Voyage 818. During the inspection, a CBP K-9 alerted on pallets containing home moving boxes destined for St. Thomas.
CBP officers opened one of the boxes and discovered U.S. currency wrapped in vacuum-sealed packages. Further inspection of the pallets revealed a total of 34 cargo boxes containing additional undeclared currency.
“In recent years, the smuggling of bulk currency has become a preferred method for drug trafficking organizations and other criminal enterprises to move illicit proceeds across our borders,” said Iván J. Arvelo, special agent in charge for HSI San Juan and the U.S. Virgin Islands. “This seizure is proof that ICE remains vigilant and that, along with our partners in the Caribbean Corridor Strike Force, we will continue using our robust investigative authorities to identify, investigate, and apprehend those involved in bulk cash smuggling,” added Arvelo.
The CCSF is an initiative of the U.S. Attorney’s Office created to disrupt and dismantle major drug trafficking organizations operating in the Caribbean. It is part of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) that investigates South American-based drug trafficking organizations responsible for the movement of multi-kilogram quantities of narcotics using the Caribbean as a transshipment point for further distribution to the United States. The initiative is composed of HSI, the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Coast Guard, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Puerto Rico and Puerto Rico Police Department’s (PRPD) Joint Forces for Rapid Action.