Authorities Continue to Intercept Contraband at Fajardo Ferry Terminal
FAJARDO, PUERTO RICO—Law enforcement components of the Caribbean Border Interagency Group (CBIG) and the Caribbean Corridor Strike Force (CCSF) have intercepted approximately 138 kilos (304 pounds) of cocaine, two weapons and approximately $21,400 in currency in ferries arriving from the island municipalities of Vieques and Culebra since January 2013, and six individuals have been arrested during the interventions.
In January 2013, CBP in Fajardo commenced a joint operation with participation of federal and local law enforcement, to include CBP, U.S. Coast Guard, Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations and the Puerto Rico Police Department Forces of Rapid Action (FURA). It is an initiative to conduct inspections on passengers and vehicles which arrive from Culebra and Vieques and disrupt drug trafficking organizations responsible for the movement of narcotics utilizing the island municipalities as a transshipment point for further distribution to the United States.
Multiple seizures of contraband of controlled substances have been processed by CBP officers and transferred over to Homeland Security Investigations and/or Drug Enforcement Administration officials for investigative purposes. The contraband has been hidden in luggage, concealed inside vehicles or abandoned in common areas. The latest seizures occurred this past weekend, when approximately 27 kilos of cocaine were found in a vehicle arriving on the ferry on Friday and another 8 kilos on Sunday.
In addition to the contraband seizures, more than 15 illegal aliens arriving from both municipalities have been detained and turned over to Ramey Border Patrol agents for further processing. Numerous arrests have resulted from these interventions and the commitment of federal and local agencies to disrupt the trafficking of controlled substance through these routes remains strong.
"These arrests and seizures should send a message to those individuals who think they can use the ferry in Fajardo to smuggle contraband or illegals. We are committed to continue protecting our borders," stated Fajardo Port Director George Rivera.
Caribbean Corridor Strike Force (CCSF) is an initiative of the United States Attorney's Office created to disrupt and dismantle major drug trafficking organizations operating in the Caribbean. CCSF is a part of the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) and Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) that investigates South American-based The initiative is composed by the U.S. Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico, ICE HSI, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), U.S. Coast Guard and PRPD's FURA.
CBIG was formally created to unify efforts of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) the United States Attorney's Office, District of Puerto Rico, and Puerto Rico Police Joint Forces of Rapid action (FURA) in their common goal of securing Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands against illegal maritime traffic and gaining control of our nation's Caribbean borders.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.