AGUADILLA, Puerto Rico - U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Air and Marine Operations (AMO) agents detected and intercepted a vessel attempting to smuggle 661 pounds (300 kilos) of cocaine south of Ponce. The estimated wholesale value of the cocaine is $9 million.
“Air and Marine Operations efforts to detect and interdict smuggling ventures require an elaborate coordination among our agents and with other federal, state and local partners,” stated Johnny Morales, Director of Air Operations at the CBP Caribbean Air and Marine Branch.
On May 25, a CBP DHC-8 Maritime Patrol Aircraft crew detected a single engine vessel moving north towards Puerto Rico and two persons onboard.
The DHC-8 crew coordinated an intercept with two Ponce based CBP Marine Units to intercept, reaching the vessel 20 miles south of Ponce.
CBP Agents found 15 bales along with 2 individuals that claimed to be citizens of the Dominican Republic. CBP arrested the vessel occupants and transferred custody, along with the contraband, to Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) for investigation and prosecution.
AMO is a federal law enforcement organization dedicated to serving and protecting the American people through advanced aeronautical and maritime capabilities.
AMO's specialized law enforcement capabilities allow AMO to make significant contributions to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) efforts, as well as to federal, state, local and tribal agencies. AMO conducts its mission in the air and maritime environments at and beyond the border, and within the nation’s interior.
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.