SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico, May 10, CMC –United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) special agents, working jointly with anti-drug officers patrolling Caribbean waters, have seized 154 kilograms of cocaine off Puerto Rico with a street value of about 12 million US dollars, ICE said on Wednesday.
ICE said two people, whose identities were not released, have been detained in connection with the seizure, which occurred about 10 miles north of Dorado, Puerto Rico.
The agency said that about midnight last Thursday, customs officers and a Puerto Rico Police Department (PRPD) police detective aboard a marine a patrol aircraft spotted a suspicious 22-foot “yola” vessel travelling eastbound toward Puerto Rico.
“The crew of the patrol aircraft gave vectors to a PRPD Joint Forces for Rapid Action marine unit, patrolling with a US Border Patrol agent, to interdict the vessel,” the statement said.
Prior to the interception, ICE said the crew of the vessel was observed “throwing bales overboard, which landed on a beach and were later recovered by law enforcement in the municipality of Dorado”.
ICE said this is the second incident near the coast of Dorado, where US federal and local authorities prevented a smuggling event.
On the evening hours of April 12, ICE said agents arrested six Dominican Republic smugglers, seizing 146 kilograms of cocaine and 19 pounds of heroin off the northern coast of Dorado.
The seizures were made by the Caribbean Corridor Strike Force (CCSF), an initiative of the US Attorney’s Office “created to disrupt and dismantle major drug trafficking organizations operating in the Caribbean”.
CCSF is part of the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area and Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force that “investigates South American-based drug trafficking organizations responsible for the movement of multi-kilogram quantities of narcotics using the Caribbean as a transshipment point for further distribution to the United States”, the ICE statement added.