SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO—U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), working jointly with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security investigations intercepted a vessel late Tuesday evening attempting to smuggle 10 bales of cocaine totaling pounds 723 pounds (328 kilos), with an estimated value of $8.2 million, near Ponce in the southern coast of the island. Two men were arrested and a two-engine vessel was seized.
Near midnight a CBP maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) detected a vessel, with no navigational lights, approximately seven nautical miles from Ponce as it was traveling north at approximately 10 knots. The MPA maintained constant surveillance of the vessel as a CBP marine unit interceptor was deployed to intercept it.
The suspicious vessel failed to heave with an ensuing high-speed chase; with one the subjects tossing suspected bales into the water. One of the subjects jumped out of the vessel and was later rescued.
CBP marine units recovered 10 bales from the water. The two individuals on board, of Colombia and Venezuela, respectively were turned over along with the suspected narcotics to ICE HSI.
Charges were presented against the individuals for consideration of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Puerto Rico.
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.