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Drilling finds cocaine in vessel on Miami River

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MIAMI – U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers discovered and seized 42 pounds of cocaine aboard a coastal freighter on the Miami River. The drugs were concealed behind the interior walls of one of the vessel’s cabins. The freighter, M/V Carib Trader II, departed Gonaives, Haiti, and made one stop in Bimini, Bahamas before arriving in Florida.

MC Carb vessel Miami FL
CBP officers intercepted 42 pounds of
cocaine on this vessel

CBP officers assigned to the Maritime Smuggling Disruption Unit and the Contraband Enforcement Team inspected the coastal freighter.  During the inspection, officers using power tools drilled into the wall of one of the cabins and discovered a white powdery substance on the tip of the drill bit.

Upon further examination, CBP officers discovered 19 kilo-sized bricks each containing a white powdery substance which field tested positive for cocaine. The cocaine has an estimated street value of $400,000.00.

The Miami River has a unique history related to maritime narcotics smuggling one in which CBP and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) have been successful in their mission to disrupt criminal networks through arrests, and seizures of narcotics, and the vessels laden with narcotics.

“We have a long standing tradition from Customs, now CBP and HSI, in that our goal is to send vessels like this to the ocean floor to create artificial reefs,” said Robert Del Toro, CBP Director of Fines, Penalties and Forfeitures in Florida. “Sinking these vessels hurts the smugglers bottom line and creating artificial reefs benefits our community and the environment.”

Officers turned the cocaine over to HSI special agents for investigation.

42 pounds cocaine MFO
CBP officers seized 42 pounds of cocaine


CBP officers screen international travelers and cargo, and search for illicit narcotics, unreported currency, weapons, counterfeit consumer goods, prohibited agriculture, and other illicit products that could potentially harm the American public, U.S. businesses, and our nation’s safety and economic vitality. CBP seized an average of 3,707 pounds of dangerous drugs every day across the United States last year. Learn more about what CBP accomplished during "A Typical Day" in 2019.

CBP's border security mission is led at ports of entry by CBP officers from the Office of Field Operations.  Please visit CBP Ports of Entry to learn more about how CBP’s Office of Field Operations secures our nation’s borders, or by visiting CBP.gov.



Last Modified: February 3, 2021