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Monday, June 5, 2023

Coast Guard Offloads $3.1 Million in Seized Cocaine, Transfers 8 Smugglers to Caribbean Corridor Strike Force

During the interdiction, the smugglers jettisoned multiple bales of suspected contraband into the water.

The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Legare and Caribbean Corridor Strike Force agents offloaded 330 pounds (150kgs) of seized cocaine Aug. 24 in San Juan, Puerto Rico, following the interdiction of a smuggling vessel near Puerto Rico.

The eight men apprehended in this case claimed to be Dominican Republic nationals and are facing federal prosecution in Puerto Rico. The seized contraband has an estimated wholesale value of approximately $3.1 million dollars.

Special Agents supporting the Caribbean Corridor Strike Force are leading the investigation into this case. The apprehended smugglers are facing federal prosecution in Puerto Rico on drug smuggling criminal charges of Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute a Controlled Substance Aboard a Vessel Subject to the Jurisdiction of the United States. The charges carry a minimum sentence of 10 years imprisonment and a maximum sentence of imprisonment for life.

During the late night hours of Aug. 16, 2022, the aircrew of a Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine multi-role enforcement aircraft detected a 25-foot suspect vessel north of Isabela, Puerto Rico. During the interdiction, the smugglers jettisoned multiple bales of suspected contraband into the water. The Coast Guard Cutter Joseph Doyle stopped the suspect vessel, apprehended eight men and recovered five bales of the jettisoned cargo.

“This interdiction is an example of how successful interagency cooperation can be through the use of our collective resources,” said Lt. Cmdr. Charles Wilson, cutter Joseph Doyle commanding officer. “Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Caribbean Air Marine Branch (CAMB) and the Coast Guard worked seamlessly to detect and interdict this suspected narcotics trafficking operation before it reached the shores of Puerto Rico.”

The seized contraband and the apprehended men were transferred to the cutter Legare for their final transport to Puerto Rico.

The interdiction is the result of multi-agency efforts involving the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF), the Caribbean Border Interagency Group and the Caribbean Corridor Strike Force. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach. Additional information about the OCDETF Program can be found at https://www.justice.gov/OCDETF.

Cutter Joseph Doyle is a 154-foot fast response cutter that is homeported in San Juan, Puerto Rico, while the cutter Legare is a 270-foot medium endurance cutter homeported in Portsmouth, Va.

Read more at USCG

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