Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents, working jointly with the Caribbean Corridor Strike Force (CCSF), seized Thursday 2,378 kilograms of cocaine in the municipality of Yabucoa in the eastern coast of Puerto Rico. The seized contraband has an estimated street value of $50 million.
On April 8, U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) Air and Marine Operations and the Puerto Rico Police Department’s (PRPD) Joint Forces for Rapid Action interdicted a 32-feet, open hull vessel, navigating towards Puerto Rico. The vessel beached on a Yabucoa shore where the crew absconded into the adjoining woodlands.
Upon inspection of the vessel, officers found 67 bales of cocaine with an estimated weight of 2,378 kilograms. The investigation is ongoing.
“HSI is committed to working with our federal, state and local counterparts in an effort to stop the movement of contraband in the Caribbean,” said Iván J. Arvelo, special agent in charge for HSI San Juan. “Those involved in drug trafficking should know that the Caribbean is no longer an option to transship narcotics into the United States.”
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. CCSF 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 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.
HSI is a directorate of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the principal investigative arm of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), responsible for investigating transnational crime and threats, specifically those criminal organizations that exploit the global infrastructure through which international trade, travel and finance move. HSI’s workforce of over 10,400 employees consists of more than 7,100 Special Agents assigned to 220 cities throughout the United States and 80 overseas locations in 53 countries. HSI’s international presence represents DHS’s largest investigative law enforcement presence abroad and one of the largest international footprints in U.S. law enforcement.