FAJARDO, Puerto Rico -- U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Office of Air and Marine Agents recovered Friday night 114 pounds (51.7 kilos) of cocaine inside 4 backpacks that were ditched by smugglers, in the east coast of the island. The estimated value of the seized contraband is $1.4 million.
“Our marine units patrol work with law enforcement partners to detect and intercept criminal organizations that seek to introduce illegal narcotics,” stated Johnny Morales, Director of Air Operations for CBP’s Caribbean Air and Marine Branch (CAMB). “This seizure is evidence that our persistence is fruitful.”
The Puerto Rico Police Department’s (PRPD) Specialized Joint Forces for Rapid Action (FURA, for its spanish acronym) contacted the CBP Fajardo Marine station requesting assistance, after a Puerto Rico National Guard helicopter detected a wooden “yola”type vessel traveling between Culebra and Fajardo, with no navigational lights. In reaction to the helicopter the vessel occupants tossed four packages into the water.
After a thorough search CBP units found near Ceiba, Puerto Rico, 2 black and blue pieces of luggage containing a total of 30 individually wrapped bricks consistent with packaged cocaine. A FURA vessel joined the search and discovered a black duffle bag with 18 bricks. The bricks field tested positive for the properties of cocaine.
Later in the day FURA agents discovered a 20 foot wooden vessel, which a K9 unit alerted for the presence of cocaine. CBP agents seized the vessel pursuant to federal law.
The mission of CBP’s Office of Air and Marine (OAM) is to serve and protect the American people. We apply advanced aeronautical and maritime capabilities and employ our unique skill sets to preserve America’s security interests.
With 1,200 federal agents, 267 aircraft and 283 marine vessels operating from 91 locations throughout the United States, OAM uses its sophisticated fleets to detect, sort, intercept, track and apprehend criminals in diverse environments at and beyond U.S. 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.