Cocaine Intercepted by Federal, Local Authorities in Puerto Rico
SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO—U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Puerto Rico Police Department (PRPD) FURA agents, working in support of the Caribbean Corridor Strike Force (CCSF), seized approximately 50 kilograms (110.23 pounds) of cocaine during a joint law enforcement operation.
Monday night, while participating in a Caribbean Border Interagency Group (CBIG) joint operation in support of the Caribbean Corridor Strike Force, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers were assisting Puerto Rico Police Department (PRPD) agents in performing non-intrusive inspection of passengers and vehicles on board the ferry Cayo Blanco, which arrived from the municipality of Culebra. During the non-intrusive inspection of the ferry, a PRPD canine alerted to a vehicle with Puerto Rico license plates.
Inside the vehicle, CBP officers discovered a suitcase containing brick-shaped items wrapped in gray tape. One of the packages was opened and revealed a white powdery substance, which was field tested and reacted positive to the properties of cocaine.
"In a concerted effort to keep dangerous drugs from reaching our communities, local and federal law enforcement agencies will continue to work together to intercept smuggling attempts," stated Fajardo Port Director George Rivera.
The approximately fifty kilograms of cocaine, with an estimated street value of $1.25 million, were seized and transferred to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) for further investigation. Assistant United States Attorney in Puerto Rico accepted the case for prosecution.
Caribbean Corridor Strike Force (CCSF) is an initiative of the United States Attorney's Office created to disrupt and dismantle major drug trafficking organizations operating in the Caribbean. CCSF is a part of the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) and Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) that investigates South American-based drug trafficking organizations responsible for the movement of multi-kilogram quantities of narcotics utilizing the Caribbean as a transshipment point for further distribution to the United States. The initiative is composed by the U.S. Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico, ICE HSI, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), U.S. Coast Guard and PRPD's FURA.
CBIG was formally created to unify efforts of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) the United States Attorney's Office, District of Puerto Rico, and Puerto Rico Police Joint Forces of Rapid action (FURA) in their common goal of securing Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands against illegal maritime traffic and gaining control of our nation's Caribbean borders.
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.