Aguadilla, P.R. - Caribbean Border Interagency Group (CBIG) federal law enforcement authorities seized $190,000, a Cal-Tech 5.56mm semi-automatic pistol and approximately 300 rounds of ammunition from inside a single-engine, yola-type vessel, northwest of Puerto Rico on December 30th.
At midnight on December 30, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection Maritime Patrol Aircraft detected a vessel approximately 60-nautical miles northwest of Puerto Rico. The vessel had no visible registration, flag or markings.
CBP personnel coordinated with watch-standers at Coast Guard Sector San Juan to intercept the vessel at sea. An HC-144 Ocean Sentry fixed-wing aircraft crew from Coast Guard Air Station Miami and Coast Guard Cutter Cushing were diverted to interdict the vessel.
Once aboard the vessel, members of the Cutter Cushing boarding team located approximately $190,000, a Kel-Tec 5.56mm semi-automatic rifle and approximately 300 rounds of ammunition.
The five individuals on board the vessel claimed to be citizens of the Dominican Republic.
Cutter Cushing crewmembers took custody of the five suspects, along with the currency and the weapon, and turned them over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations at Arecibo at the Mayaguez Sea Port, Puerto Rico.
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.