AGUADILLA, Puerto Rico— US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Air and Marine Operations (AMO) agents interdicted Monday a vessel with two occupants transporting 902 pounds (409 kilos) of cocaine near Desecheo Island in the western coast of the island. The estimated value is approximately $ 9 million.
“Smuggling organizations are attempting to disguise their illegal activities as normal small vessel operators or fishermen,” Augusto Reyes, Director of the Caribbean Air and Marine Branch. “AMO agents are highly skilled, able to see through their tactics, and committed to use all our capabilities to interdict them and stop their illegal smuggling ventures.”
On June 27, Mayaguez Marine Interdiction Agents conducting a patrol approached for inspection a vessel navigating near Desecheo island. The two occupants indicated that they were fishing.
The AMO agents escorted the boat and its occupants to the Mayaguez Marine Boathouse for further inspection. On shore a US Border Patrol K9 alerted to the presence of a smell for which it is trained.
A more intrusive inspection resulted in finding a hidden compartment where 339 bricks of a white powdery substance which tested positive for the properties of cocaine.
Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) took custody of two men and the contraband for prosecution and investigation. On June 22, AMO agents intercepted another vessel attempting to smuggle 289 pounds of cocaine towards Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico.
AMO safeguards our Nation by anticipating and confronting security threats through our aviation and maritime law enforcement expertise, innovative capabilities, and partnerships at the border and beyond. With approximately 1,800 federal agents and mission support personnel, 240 aircraft, and 300 marine vessels operating throughout the United States, Puerto Rico, and U.S. Virgin Islands, AMO conducts its mission in the air and maritime environments at and beyond the border, and within the nation's interior.