SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico - U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the Puerto Rico Police Bureau seized 85 pounds (39 kilos) of cocaine Saturday concealed below the bow thruster of the cargo vessel M/V Northern Diplomat calling the port of San Juan from the Dominican Republic. The estimated value of the seized cocaine is $1 million.
“Smugglers use very creative means to conceal their illicit drug loads into the international supply chain”, stated Roberto Vaquero, Assistant Director of Field Operations for Border Security in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. “Our officers’ expertise, along with the utilization of all available tools, resulted in the detection of these narcotics. Our communities can feel safer knowing that the men and women of CBP are securing their borders.”
On Dec. 5, the CBP Contraband Enforcement Team inspected various containers arriving on the incoming vessel when they observed an object floating near the vessel. The items were recovered from the water and a CBP K9 alerted for the properties of cocaine.
A Puerto Rico Police Bureau dive team conducted an examination of the vessel structure discovering two marine net bags with (29) bricks attached to the bow thruster of the vessel.
A total of (31) bricks recovered and tested positive for the properties of cocaine.
The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) assumed custody of the seized contraband for investigation.
CBP’s mission is to safeguard America’s borders thereby protecting the public from dangerous people and materials while enhancing the Nation’s global economic competitiveness by enabling legitimate trade and travel.