AGUADILLA, Puerto Rico— US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Air and Marine Operations (AMO) agents intercepted a center console vessel near Cabo Rojo, finding 695 pounds (315.4 Kilos) of cocaine inside its hull and one firearm. The two vessel occupants were arrested. The estimated value of the cocaine is $6.3 million.
“Our maritime awareness allows us to detect and interdict narcotics smuggling attempts efficiently,” indicated Augusto Reyes, Director of the Caribbean Air and Marine Branch. “Our agents will continue to use our advanced aeronautical capabilities to secure our coastal borders.”
On Mar.22, the crew of an AMO AS-350 helicopter patrolling the vicinity of Cabo Rojo spotted a center console vessel with a T-Top, single outboard engine and two persons on board, navigating east at considerable speed.
The crew maintained visual contact and reached out to an AMO Mayaguez Coastal Interceptor crew in order to intercept the vessel. The Marine Unit escorted the vessel to the boat station where the AMO agents made a thorough search finding 250 bricks in a hidden compartment in the hull. The bricks contained a white powder substance that field tested positive to the properties of cocaine.
Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) took custody of the two male US citizens operating the vessel, the contraband and the firearm for investigation and prosecution.
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.