Narcotics and Alien Smuggling Attempts Keep Federal Partners Busy
San Juan, Puerto Rico - Within the last 24 hours, law enforcement components of the Caribbean Border Interagency Group (CBIG) and the Caribbean Corridor StrikeForce (CCSF) have rescued 11 Cuban aliens from Monito Island, intercepted 89 bricks of cocaine and are about to pick up 20 additional aliens in Mona Island.
Early this morning, 20 Cuban aliens (17 males, 3 females), landed in Mona Island after identifying themselves to park rangers of the Puerto Rico Department of Natural and Environmental Resources.
Rescue coordination operations for this latest group are under way.
Last night a the crew of a U. S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) surveillance aircraft detected two men aboard an 18-foot yola traveling towards Puerto Rico without any navigation lights, approximately 20 nautical miles northwest of Mona Island, Puerto Rico.
With support of a CBP helicopter, a U. S. Coast Guard Boat Station San Juan 45-foot response boat and the Coast Guard Cutter Matinicus approached the suspect vessel as the passengers onboard the yola proceeded to throw their cargo overboard.
The crew of the Boat Station San Juan response boat recovered two suitcases of the suspected contraband from the water, while the crew of the Matinicus recovered one other. A field test sample indicated that the suitcases contained cocaine.
The custody of the two Dominicans and the 89 bricks of cocaine were transferred to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) agents Monday afternoon for further investigations.
Earlier Sunday morning, USCG Cutter Kodiak rescued 11 subjects that landed in Monito Island.
The rescued aliens (10 males, 1 female), were transported to the Port of Mayaguez, where custody was transferred to CBP Border Patrol and initial immigration interviews were conducted.
After immigration processing at the Border Patrol station, the Cuban aliens will receive a Notice to Appear (NTA) before an Immigration Judge, for further proceedings under the Cuban Migration Agreement of 1995 and the Cuban Adjustment Act of 1966.
About the Caribbean Border Interagency Group (CBIG):
The concept of CBIG resulted from a March 2006 collaboration of local Homeland Security components that effectively stemmed the increased flow of traffic across the Mona Passage between the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. In July 2006, CBIG is organized of such agencies as U.S. Customs and Border Protection (with its three operational components Border Patrol, Field Operations and Air & Marine Operations), Immigration and Customs Enforcement, U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Puerto Rico and the Puerto Rico Police Department's Joint Forces for Rapid Action (FURA, for its Spanish Acronym).
About the Caribbean Corridor Strike Force (CCSF):
CCSF is an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement initiative 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.
CCSF is composed by the United States Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and U.S. Coast Guard (USCG).
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.