Coast Guard, U.S. and Puerto Rico law enforcement interdict drug smuggling go-fast, apprehend 3 smugglers

Coast Guard, U.S. and Puerto Rico law enforcement partners seized 151 kilograms of cocaine, 740 grams of heroin, a go-fast vessel and detained three suspected smugglers June 26, 2017 off the coast of Loiza, Puerto Rico. The seized contraband is estimated to have a wholesale value of over $3.7 million dollars, and the interdiction was the result of ongoing, multi-agency and international law enforcement operations to combat drug trafficking organizations and illegal smuggling in the Caribbean region.

Coast Guard, U.S. and Puerto Rico law enforcement partners seized 151 kilograms of cocaine, 740 grams of heroin, a go-fast vessel and detained three suspected smugglers June 26, 2017 off the coast of Loiza, Puerto Rico. 

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Coast Guard, U.S. and Puerto Rico law enforcement partners seized 151 kilograms of cocaine, 740 grams of heroin, a go-fast vessel and detained three suspected smugglers Monday night off the coast of Loiza, Puerto Rico.

The seized contraband is estimated to have a wholesale value of over $3.7 million dollars.

Three suspected smugglers, all Dominican nationals, have been turned over to the U.S. Department of Justice for potential prosecution by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Puerto Rico.

The interdiction was the result of ongoing, multi-agency and international law enforcement operations to combat drug trafficking organizations and illegal smuggling in the Caribbean region.

While on a routine patrol late Monday night, the crew of a Coast Guard HC-144 Ocean Sentry maritime patrol aircraft detected a suspicious go-fast vessel in international waters off the coast Puerto Rico. Coast Guard watchstanders at Sector San Juan diverted a Coast Guard 33-foot Special Purpose Craft – Law Enforcement pursuit boat, while a Puerto Rico Police Joint Forces of Rapid Action marine unit also responded to interdict the suspect vessel.

The crews of the Coast Guard and Puerto Rico Police marine units interdicted the go-fast, detained the three individuals onboard and seized multiple bales of suspected contraband, which tested positive for cocaine and heroin.

The contraband and three suspected smugglers were placed in the custody of U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement-Homeland Security Investigations special agents in Puerto Rico.

“The swift response, coordination and collaboration between our federal and local law enforcement partners allowed for the successful interdiction of a go-fast vessel, seizure of contraband and apprehension of the smugglers,” said Cmdr. Christopher Douglas, Coast Guard Sector San Juan chief of response. “We remain vigilant and stand ready in our collective resolve to protect our citizens and stop illegal smuggling in the high seas.”

The Coast Guard’s efforts under Operation Unified Resolve contribute to the interagency results being achieved locally each and every day under Operation Caribbean Guard, which coordinates efforts between the Coast Guard, DHS and the Commonwealth and Territorial law enforcement partners, who are working diligently to deter, detect and disrupt illicit maritime trafficking to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

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