Aguadilla, P.R. - US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Air and Marine units intercepted a vessel near Arecibo on May 23rd, containing 26 undocumented aliens with six bricks of cocaine floating nearby.
Near midnight, the crew of the CBP Caribbean Air & Marine Branch (CAMB) DHC-8 aircraft detected a vessel without navigational lights, traveling east towards the northern coast of Puerto Rico.
The crew notified Marine agents onboard the nearby CBP Mayaguez Marine Interceptor Unit and the agents intercepted the suspect vessel approximately nine-miles northwest of Arecibo, Puerto Rico.
Marine agents confirmed that onboard the 20-foot "yola" type vessel were 26 passengers, all claiming to be from the Dominican Republic. Agents also noticed an undetermined amount of debris floating next to the vessel.
The Marine unit retrieved a bag from the water, which turned out to contain bricks of suspected contraband.
Following the prosecutorial guidelines established by the Caribbean Border Interagency Group (CBIG), CBP contacted the US Coast Guard, transferring the 26 undocumented aliens for biometrics processing and determination of immigration prosecution.
CBP Border Patrol Agents boarded the cutter to perform immigration interviews.
Six of the undocumented aliens will be prosecuted for illegal, re-entry into the United States.
Federal authorities will not indict the undocumented aliens for federal narcotics trafficking charges.
The CBP Office of Air and Marine (OAM), is the world's largest aviation and maritime law enforcement organization, protecting the American public through the coordinated use of integrated air and marine forces to detect, interdict and prevent acts of terrorism and the unlawful movement of people, illegal drugs and other contraband toward or across the borders of the United States.
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.