AGUADILLA, Puerto Rico – Marine Interdiction Agents of US Customs and Border Protection’s Air and Marine Operations (AMO), intercepted Tuesday a 24-foot vessel with two local individuals transporting approximately 913 pounds (414 Kilograms) of cocaine, about 10 nautical miles south of Desecheo island. The estimated value of the seized narcotics is approximately $9.5 million.
“Criminal organization seek to smuggle both migrants and contraband through the western coast of Puerto Rico,” stated Creighton Skeen, Acting Director of Air and Marine Operations at the Caribbean Air and Marine Branch (CAMB). “AMO continues to use its resources, technology, and maritime domain awareness to ensure there is a consequence for violating the laws of the United States.”
A Mayaguez Coastal Interceptor vessel crew received information about a suspicious vessel heading east towards the island’s west coast. The agents located a white Cape Horn center console vessel near Desecheo with two occupants on board.
The crew escorted the vessel to the Mayaguez Boat house for inspection, where Marine Interdiction Agents found a hidden compartment filled with 350 brick shaped packages. The white powderily substance contained within the bricks field tested positive to the properties of cocaine.
Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) agents took custody of the two men for prosecution. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) seized the cocaine for investigation.
“These individuals pose the greatest threat to the safety and health of our citizens”, stated DEA’s Caribbean Division Special Agent in Charge Denise Foster. “We will continue to allocate all our law enforcement resources to make a greater impact in vulnerable areas where criminal organizations dedicated to drug trafficking are causing greater damage”.
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.