Coast Guard, CCSF law enforcement authorities seize cocaine in the Mona Passage

Coast Guard District 7 NewsSAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – A 173 kilogram (380.6 pound) cocaine shipment sits on the deck of the Coast Guard Cutter Key Largo following a Caribbean Corridor Strike Force interagency at-sea interdiction in the Mona Passage Thurdsay, in which two drug smugglers were also arrested. (U.S. Coast Guard photo).

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – Caribbean Corridor Strike Force (CCSF) law enforcement authorities arrested two smugglers and seized 173 kilograms (380.6 pounds) of cocaine during a maritime interdiction Thursday in the Mona Passage.

The drug shipment was estimated to have a street value of approximately $4.2 million dollars.

The crew of a Customs and Border Protection marine surveillance aircraft, on patrol in the Mona Passage, detected two men aboard a suspicious vessel with no running navigational lights heading towards Puerto Rico Wednesday night, approximately 43 nautical miles northwest of Desecheo Island, Puerto Rico.

The crew of the Customs and Border Protection aircraft vectored in a Coast Guard Station San Juan 33-foot response boat and the Coast Guard Cutter Key Largo to interdict the suspect vessel.

The crew of the Coast Guard response boat interdicted the 20-foot-blue “yola” type vessel, with two Dominican Republic men onboard, and identified white bales of suspected contraband on deck in plain view. A Coast Guard boarding team from the Key Largo conducted a more thorough search onboard the vessel and found additional bricks of contraband hidden inside; a field test revealed the contraband to be cocaine. The crew of the Key Largo took custody of the smugglers and seized 154 bricks of suspected contraband with a total weight of 173 kilograms (380.6 pounds).

The crew of the Key Largo transferred custody of the Dominicans and the cocaine shipment to awaiting ICE Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) agents in Mayaguez Thursday afternoon for further investigations.

The Coast Guard Cutter Key Largo is a 110-foot patrol boat homeported in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

The Caribbean Corridor Strike Force is an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force and High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area HIDTA 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 members are the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Puerto Rico, Immigrations and Customs Enforcement ICE, Drug Enforcement Administration DEA, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Customs and Border Protection and the U.S. Coast Guard.

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