MAYAGUEZ, Puerto Rico - U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers seized Wednesday 1.13 kilos (2.5 pounds) of heroin found inside a Ford Van arriving on board the Puerto Rico–Dominican Republic ferry at the Mayaguez Port.
During inbound inspections of passenger vehicles that arrived from the Dominican Republic onboard the M/V “Caribbean Fantasy”, CBP officers selected a Ford E-250 van with a Puerto Rico license plate for secondary examination.
After a thorough search of the vehicle, CBP officers found 70 pellets of heroin hidden inside the vehicle’s body parts. CBP officers arrested the vehicle’s driver, Danny Iturbide-Santana, 38, a Dominican Republic citizen and U.S. Legal Permanent Resident.
The estimated street value of the seized heroin is approximately $100,000.
The custody of the passenger and the narcotics was transferred to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents for further investigation.
“Through a risk-management based, layered enforcement approach, we are closing routes for smugglers,” indicated Marcelino Borges, director of field operations for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. “We will continue working with Caribbean Border Interagency Group (CBIG) partners to identify, arrest and prosecute drug smugglers.”
CBP uses sophisticated methods to identify and target potentially high-risk passengers and cargo, including advanced electronic information, prior to their arrival to the United States.
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.