San Juan, Puerto Rico - U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers working at the Luis Munoz Marin International Airport in San Juan, Puerto Rico, intercepted, on Aug. 19, a United States citizen attempting to smuggle 1,207 grams of heroin hidden within his clothing.
Today, Michael Guzman-Betancourt, 23, appeared before U. S. District Court Chief Magistrate Judge Justo Arenas facing charges of narcotics smuggling.
CBP Officers arrested Mr. Guzman-Betancourt during a routine inspection when he arrived to Puerto Rico from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.
CBP officers selected the suspected passenger for further inspection, and after careful examination, discovered that Guzman-Betancourt had the drug concealed on his person.
CBP Officers arrested the subject and transferred custody to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Office of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents for further processing.
Area Port Director Maria Palmer stated: "Customs and Border Protection Officers have the experience, training and ability to intercept those that attempt to smuggle drugs and other harmful items into the country. This successful interdiction demonstrates our officers' unwavering commitment to maintain our borders secure."
"Smugglers who think that our ports of entry are easy transshipment points for contraband are seriously mistaken," said Roberto Escobar Vargas, ICE's Office of Homeland Security Investigations special agent in charge in San Juan. "We will continue working with our federal, state and local partners to identify and apprehend those who, in flagrant violation of our customs laws, try to introduce illegal narcotics into Puerto Rico."
CBP Officers constantly conduct enforcement examinations on international passengers arriving at airports and seaports in the Caribbean and remain alert for any type of contraband or prohibited items to prevent their entry into the country.
Guzman-Betancourt is in federal custody and was transferred to the Metropolitan Detention Center in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico awaiting the outcome of his case.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Charles Walsh accepted this case for prosecution.
The ICE investigation into this case is ongoing.
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.