FAJARDO, Puerto Rico — U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI ) seized 86 pounds (39 kilos) of cocaine found Wednesday concealed inside the hull of a 26 foot boat. The estimated value of the cocaine is $1 million.
“Our collective effort and resolve is key to secure the Caribbean borders from attempts to smuggle narcotics into the region,” stated Johnny Morales, Director of Air Operations at the CBP Caribbean Air and Marine Branch.
A CBP Air and Marine Operation Interceptor vessel along with HSI agents held for inspection a vessel that was towed from Culebra at the Puerto Chico Marina.
During the inspection a CBP K-9 alerted of the presence of narcotics inside the boat.
A CBP Field Operations X-ray inspection of the boat revealed a hidden compartment within the hull and under the starboard deck area, where 46 brick shaped objects were found. A powdery substance tested positive to cocaine.
HSI special agents assumed custody of the boat and contraband for further investigation.
CBP has the legal authority to conduct border searches of persons, merchandise or conveyances that cross or are about to cross an international border - without a warrant or probable cause. Border search authority includes inbound, in-transit and outbound searches.
To find out more about CBP operations in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands, visit @CBPCaribbean on Twitter.
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.