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AMO seizes over 3768 Pounds of Cocaine near Puerto Rico’s Southeastern coast

Release Date: 
April 24, 2019

PONCE, Puerto Rico – U.S. Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine Operations (AMO) intercepted and seized Wednesday 3768 pounds (1709 kilos) of cocaine within 74 bales found inside a go fast vessel intercepted near the town of Maunabo, in the southeastern coast of the island. The estimated street value of the narcotics is $42.7 million.

“Our Air and Marine Operations agents continue to be effective in their complex undertaking of interdicting smuggling attempts into our country,” indicated Johnny Morales, Director of Air and Marine Operations in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. “This overwhelming mission does bear results by taking illicit narcotics from our streets.” A display of all cocaine bricks that totaled 3768 pounds.

On the evening of April 17, an AMO DHC-8 Marine Patrol Aircraft detected a twin engine, center console vessel, approximately 30 feet in length with two occupants traveling north towards Puerto Rico without navigations lights.

While maintaining surveillance of the vessel the AMO aircraft assisted Fajardo and Ponce based Marine Interceptor units to reach the suspect vessel.   Marine Interceptor units reached the vessel with blue lights and siren. The vessel failed to heave.

After a short pursuit, the CBP Interceptor deployed two warning shots and disabling shots to the vessel’s engines, stopping approximately 3nm south of Maunabo, Puerto Rico.  CBP Agents boarded the suspect vessel and arrested two occupants inside who claimed to be nationals of the Dominican Republic; finding 40 bales of narcotics.

CBP handed custody of the narcotics and the two occupants to US Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) for investigation and prosecution.

On April 9, AMO intercepted another vessel near Patillas Puerto Rico with over 1700 pounds of cocaine, with an estimated value of $20 million.  

CBP’s Air and Marine Operations (AMO) is a federal law enforcement organization dedicated to serving and protecting the American people through advanced aeronautical and maritime capabilities. AMO interdicts unlawful people and cargo approaching U.S. borders, investigates criminal networks and provides domain awareness in the air and maritime environments, and responds to contingencies and national taskings. 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 serves as the nation’s experts in airborne and maritime law enforcement.

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Last modified: 
April 24, 2019