By R. Mitchell –
AGUADILLA, Puerto Rico — U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Air and Marine Operations (AMO) detected a go-fast vessel containing 710 pounds (322 kilos) of cocaine, worth an estimated $9 million, 60 miles southeast of Guayama, Puerto Rico.
“Air and Marine Operations is always vigilant of the Caribbean waters to detect and intercept smuggling attempts such as this one,” stated Johnny Morales, Director of Air Operations at the CBP Caribbean Air and Marine Branch.
On Feb. 21, a CBP DHC-8 Maritime Patrol Aircraft crew located a suspicious 25 foot vessel, with 2 outboard engines and 2 individuals onboard, navigating at high speed north.
The AMO crew maintained surveillance and coordinated with the USCG to intercept. The subjects began to throw bales overboard and attempted to evade the USCG cutter. After a small pursuit, the USCG stopped the vessel, apprehended 2 suspects claiming to be citizens of the Dominican Republic, and seized the cocaine.
The mission of Air and Marine Operations is to serve and protect the American people. AMO applies advanced aeronautical and maritime capabilities and employs a unique skill sets to preserve America’s security interests. With 1,800 federal agents and mission support personnel, 240 aircraft and 300 marine vessels operating throughout the United States, Puerto Rico, and U.S. Virgin Islands, AMO uses its sophisticated fleets to detect, sort, intercept, track and apprehend criminals in diverse environments at and beyond U.S. borders.
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