U.S. Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine Operations (AMO) intercepted and seized Wednesday 3768 pounds (1709 kilos) of cocaine within 74 bales found inside a go fast vessel intercepted near the town of Maunabo, in the southeastern coast of the island. The estimated street value of the narcotics is $42.7 million.
“Our Air and Marine Operations agents continue to be effective in their complex undertaking of interdicting smuggling attempts into our country,” indicated Johnny Morales, Director of Air and Marine Operations in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. “This overwhelming mission does bear results by taking illicit narcotics from our streets.”
On the evening of April 17, an AMO DHC-8 Marine Patrol Aircraft detected a twin engine, center console vessel, approximately 30 feet in length with two occupants traveling north towards Puerto Rico without navigations lights.
While maintaining surveillance of the vessel the AMO aircraft assisted Fajardo and Ponce based Marine Interceptor units to reach the suspect vessel. Marine Interceptor units reached the vessel with blue lights and siren. The vessel failed to heave.
After a short pursuit, the CBP Interceptor deployed two warning shots and disabling shots to the vessel’s engines, stopping approximately 3nm south of Maunabo, Puerto Rico. CBP Agents boarded the suspect vessel and arrested two occupants inside who claimed to be nationals of the Dominican Republic; finding 40 bales of narcotics.
CBP handed custody of the narcotics and the two occupants to US Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) for investigation and prosecution.
On April 9, AMO intercepted another vessel near Patillas Puerto Rico with over 1700 pounds of cocaine, with an estimated value of $20 million.