AGUADILLA, Puerto Rico – U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Border Patrol Agents assisted Puerto Rico Police Department partners to intercept and seize 1,744 pounds (791 kilos) of cocaine, and arrest 5 US citizens in the southeastern coast of Puerto Rico. The estimated street value of the seized cocaine is $ 22.1 million.
“Our agents remain vigilant to support our Operation Stonegarden partners in Puerto Rico,” stated Ramiro Cerrillo, Ramey Sector Chief Patrol Agent. “Providing grant funding for their operations and sharing capabilities has immediate returns.”
Ramey Sector Border Patrol Agents responded to a call for assistance from the Puerto Rico Police Department’s Joint Forces of Rapid Action (FURA, for its Spanish acronym) maritime unit which was in pursuit of a suspect vessel near the town of Patillas.
The vessel made landfall at Inches Beach, Patillas, where PRPD and Border Patrol agents arrested five men who claimed to be US Citizens. Inside the vessel 34 bundles were found that field tested positive to the properties of cocaine. A firearm and three vehicles were also seized.
The subjects, conveyances, firearm and narcotics were turned over to the Drug Enforcement Administration for prosecution and further disposition.
The Operation Stonegarden Grant Program (OPSG) is designed to enhance cooperation and coordination from the U.S. Border Patrol with local, tribal, territorial, state and federal law enforcement agencies in a joint mission to secure the border.
OPSG funds were allocated based on risk-based prioritization using a Border Patrol Sector-specific border risk methodology. Factors considered included, but were not limited to, threat, vulnerability, miles of border, and other border-specific “law enforcement intelligence,” as well as feasibility of FY 2016 Operation Orders to designated localities within the United States Border States and territories.
For Fiscal Year 2016 the Puerto Rico Police Department FURA units received a grant totaling $1,299,185 to support their collaborative operations with the U.S. Border Patrol.
As America’s unified border agency, CBP has a critical role in the efforts to keep dangerous drugs like cocaine and other narcotics out of the hands of the American public.
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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.