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CBP intercepts vessel with 283 pounds of cocaine; 2 Dominican Republic Nationals arrested

Release Date: 
October 24, 2016

AGUADILLA, Puerto Rico — U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Air and Marine Operations (AMO) seized 283 pounds (128.8 kilos) of cocaine last night after intercepting a “yola” type vessel near the northwestern coast and arresting 2 men onboard.   The estimated value of the cocaine is $3.6 million. 

Yola vessels are unseaworthy and are regularly destroyed.
Yola vessels are unseaworthy and are
regularly destroyed.

“Air and Marine Agents engage in complex coordination to detect and stop vessels that attempt to smuggle narcotics though our coastal areas,” stated Johnny Morales, Director of Air Operations at the CBP Caribbean Air and Marine Branch.

Near midnight, a CBP DHC-8 Maritime Patrol Aircraft crew detected a small 22-foot wooden “yola” vessel with one outboard engine and two persons onboard, approximately northwest of Aguadilla, Puerto Rico, heading eastbound.

A CBP Interceptor from the Mayaguez Marine Unit was deployed, reaching the vessel and ordering the subjects on board to stop, utilizing blue lights and siren, to which they complied.  The Marine Interceptor Agents took custody of the two subjects on board and recovered an unknown quantity of contraband.  

The two male adults claim to be Dominican Republic nationals.  The contraband tested positive to cocaine and weighted approximately 128.8 kilos.  The vessel was destroyed at high seas due to hazards to navigation & adverse weather inbound to scene area.   

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Homeland Security Investigations Special Agents assumed custody of the 2 men and the contraband for prosecution and investigation. 

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 between ports of entry, in the maritime environment and within the nation’s interior.

Last modified: 
February 3, 2021