SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO—U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers discovered 7.3 kilograms (16 pounds) of heroin concealed within a vehicle arriving from the Dominican Republic on the ferry on Monday.
While performing inbound inspections of passenger vehicles that arrived from Dominican Republic onboard the M/V Caribbean Fantasy, CBP officers performed a thorough inspection of one of the vehicles and discovered, hidden within it, 9 packages of a substance which subsequently field tested positive for the properties of heroin. The heroin weighed approximately 16 pounds, with an estimated value of $420,000.
Customs and Border Protection officers arrested the driver of the vehicle, Jaironel Lajara, 23, a United States citizen and resident of San Juan, Puerto Rico.
ICE Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) is leading an investigation and presented charges against Lajara for consideration by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Puerto Rico, which accepted prosecution. Another individual has been arrested in connection with this incident.
CBP uses sophisticated methods to identify and target potentially high-risk passengers and cargo, including advanced electronic information about every passenger and cargo shipment entering into the U.S. before their arrival. "CBP officers remain vigilant in the protection of our borders and will continue to use their training and expertise to detect those that intend to introduce contraband through our borders," stated San Juan Area Port Director Juan Hurtado.
CBP's dual mission is to facilitate travel in the United States while we secure our borders, our people and our visitors from those that would do us harm like terrorists and terrorist weapons, criminals, and contraband. CBP officers are charged with enforcing not only immigration and customs laws, but they enforce over 400 laws for 40 other agencies and have stopped thousands of violators of U.S. law.
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.