PONCE, Puerto Rico— US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Air and Marine Operations (AMO) agents seized Monday 2,351pounds (1006.5 kilos) of cocaine from a vessel attempting to reach the coast in southern Puerto Rico. The estimated street value of the contraband is $23 million.
“Our collaboration with fellow law enforcement and our maritime domain awareness allows us to be successful interdicting these smuggling attemtps,” stated Augusto Reyes, Director of Air and Marine Operations in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. “Air and Marine Operations agents are determined to detect and intercept any attempts to smuggle contraband to our shores.”
On the evening of Feb. 27, the crew of an AMO Jacksonville-based P-3 detected a vessel with two outboard engines and approximately three persons on board moving north towards the southern coast of the island.
The P-3 crew-maintained surveillance of the vessel assisting Ponce based Coastal Interceptor Vessel crews to interdict the suspect vessel south of the island of Caja de Muerto.
Inside the vessel agents found total of 37 bales of contraband and arrested two non-citizens from the Dominican Republic and one non-citizen from Venezuela.
The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) took custody of the contraband and the individuals for investigation and prosecution.
AMO operates the P-3 AEW aircraft to perform a wide variety of operational missions, especially those that require long station time overhead, hemispheric range, and inclement weather and environmental conditions. Read more here https://www.cbp.gov/frontline/cbp-p-3-operations
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.