PONCE, Puerto Rico - U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Puerto Rico Police Joint Forces for Rapid Action (FURA, for its Spanish acronym) agents found Wednesday morning 16 bales of cocaine amounting to 1198 pounds (543 kilos) inside an abandoned “yola” vessel in the coast of Guánica, in the southern coast of the island. The estimated wholesale value of the cocaine is $16.2 million.
“Air and Marine Agents work closely with state and local partners to seize narcotics through our coastal areas,” stated Johnny Morales, Director of Air Operations at the CBP Caribbean Air and Marine Branch.
FURA, an Operation Stonegarden participant, contacted CBP Air and Marine Operations (AMO) and Border Patrol after finding a “yola” type vessel that was beached on shore, containing fuel containers and suspected narcotics bales on board.
“This is evidence of the extraordinary results that Operation Stonegarden can achieve through sustained collaboration and a grant investment,” state Ramiro Cerrillo, Chief Patrol Agent for the Ramey Sector.
An intensive search ensued by FURA, AMO, Border Patrol and other federal agents with air support from an AMO AS-350 Law Enforcement Helicopter crew.
The contraband tested positive to cocaine and weighted 543 kilos and was seized by Border Patrol.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Special Agents assumed custody of the contraband, two outboard engines and two GPS devices, for investigation.
CBP officers and agents enforce all applicable U.S. laws, including against illegal immigration, narcotics smuggling and illegal importation.
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.