SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – Marine Interdiction Agents of US Customs and Border Protection’s Air and Marine Operations (AMO), intercepted today a vessel with three men from the Dominican Republic transporting 723 pounds (328 kilos) of cocaine, north of Loiza, Puerto Rico. The estimated value of the seized narcotics is approximately $7.9 million.
“Transnational Criminal Organizations try to introduce their illicit contraband to Puerto Rico from every maritime direction,” stated Creighton Skeen, Acting Director of Air and Marine Operations at the Caribbean Air and Marine Branch (CAMB). “AMO leverages its resources, technology, and maritime domain awareness to be able to intercept these incursions throughout the island.”
A CAMB Multi-role Enforcement Aircraft (MEA) crew detected a Yola-type vessel with two outboard engines travelling south towards Puerto Rico, with visible bales and three occupants onboard. The MEA maintained surveillance of the vessel coordinating with the crews of two Coastal Interceptor vessels to intercept.
The Marine Interdiction Agents stopped a gray and blue, 24’ Eduardoño type homemade yola, with three occupants on board. The agents boarded the vessel approximately 10 nautical miles north of Loiza, arresting three adult males, who claimed to be from the Dominican Republic, and found ten (10) bales of suspected cocaine. The tested contraband was positive to the properties of cocaine.
Special Agents from the San Juan Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Border Enforcement Security Taskforce and the Caribbean Corridor Strike Force (CCSF) assumed the investigative responsibility of the case, and took custody of the arrestees, and the contraband.
In Fiscal Year 2022, AMO enforcement actions resulted in 967 arrests and 134,981 apprehensions of undocumented individuals, as well as the seizure or disruption of 250,616 pounds of cocaine, 1,475 pounds of fentanyl, 25,625 pounds of methamphetamine, 1,342 weapons, and $21.7 million.
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.