Vessel with 159 pounds of cocaine intercepted north of Puerto Rico; three arrested
AGUADILLA, Puerto Rico — US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Air and Marine Operations (AMO) detected a single engine vessel on Tuesday evening attempting to smuggle more than 159 pounds (72 kilos) of cocaine north of Arecibo. Puerto Rico Police Department marine units intercepted the vessel and arrested three men from the Dominican Republic onboard. The estimated wholesale value of the cocaine is $2.1 million. “Air and Marine Agents coordinate with federal and state law enforcement partners to intercept vessels that attempt to smuggle dangerous narcotics into the island,” stated Johnny Morales, director of air operations at the CBP Caribbean Air and Marine Branch. A Marine Patrol Aircraft works with other federal and state partners to intercept suspect vessels. Near midnight, a CBP DHC-8 Maritime Patrol Aircraft crew detected a single engine vessel 30 nautical miles north of Arecibo, without navigational lights moving south and three persons onboard. The AMO MPA coordinated an intercept US Coast Guard, Border Patrol and the Puerto Rico Police Department FURA Marine Units to intercept. A FURA marine unit reached the suspect vessel, whose occupants started to dump packages overboard. After a short pursuit the vessel was stopped approximately ten nautical miles north of Arecibo. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Special Agents assumed custody of the three men and the contraband for prosecution and investigation. “The US Drug Enforcement Administration works closely with our federal and local partners in Puerto Rico to share intelligence, coordinate investigative operations, and disrupt the flow of drugs through our territory. Our primary objective is to help build safe and resilient communities for the citizens of the United States and we will prevail,” said Special Agent in Charge Matthew Donahue.
Photo: CBP DHC-8 Maritime Patrol Aircraft