Coast Guard boat crews seize $12 million in cocaine

Station San Juan boat crews offloaded approximately 400 kilograms in seized cocaine and transferred custody of four suspected smugglers to federal agents Nov. 24, 2021, following the interdiction of a go-fast vessel near Dorado, Puerto Rico. The apprehended smugglers are Dominican Republic nationals, who are facing federal prosecution in Puerto Rico. The interdiction is the result of multi-agency efforts involving the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF), the Caribbean Border Interagency Group and the Caribbean Corridor Strike Force (CCSF). (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Ricardo Castrodad)

Station San Juan boat crews offloaded approximately 400 kilograms in seized cocaine and transferred custody of four suspected smugglers to federal agents Nov. 24, 2021, following the interdiction of a go-fast vessel near Dorado, Puerto Rico.(U.S. Coast Guard photo by Ricardo Castrodad)

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — A Station San Juan boat crew offloaded approximately 400 kilograms in seized cocaine and transferred custody of four suspected smugglers to federal agents Wednesday, following the interdiction of a go-fast vessel near Dorado, Puerto Rico.

The apprehended smugglers are Dominican Republic nationals, who are facing federal prosecution in Puerto Rico on drug smuggling criminal charges of Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute a Controlled Substance Aboard a Vessel Subject to the Jurisdiction of the United States. The charges carry a minimum sentence of 10 years imprisonment and a maximum sentence of imprisonment for life. The Transnational Organized Crime Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Jordan Martin from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Puerto Rico is leading the prosecution for this case. The seized cocaine has an estimated wholesale value of approximately $12 million dollars.

During a routine patrol of Puerto Rico’s northern coast, the aircrew of a Customs and Border Protection multi-role enforcement aircraft detected a suspicious go-fast vessel, approximately 24 nautical miles north of Dorado, Puerto Rico.

Coast Guard watchstanders at Sector San Juan directed the launch of a Station San Juan 33-foot Special Purpose Craft – Law Enforcement to interdict the suspect vessel. Once on scene and while in pursuit, the Coast Guard crew compelled the go-fast vessel to stop. Following the interdiction, the Coast Guard crew seized 16 bales of cocaine and apprehended the four-suspected smugglers.

“This successful interdiction is a result of the professionalism, close coordination and swift response displayed by the Coast Guard and Customs and Border Protection surface, air, and watchstander crews involved in this case,” said Cmdr. Beau Powers, Sector San Juan chief of response. “These professionals respond and work daily to maximize our interagency capabilities and resources to stop drug smuggling vessels at sea. Together, along with the rest of our local and federal law enforcement partners, we seek to safeguard the nation’s maritime border and protect the people of Puerto Rico from this threat.”

The interdiction is the result of multi-agency efforts involving the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF), the Caribbean Border Interagency Group and the Caribbean Corridor Strike Force (CCSF). OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach. Additional information about the OCDETF Program can be found at https://www.justice.gov/OCDETF.

The CCSF is an initiative of the U.S. Attorney’s Office created to disrupt and dismantle major drug trafficking organizations operating in the Caribbean. CCSF is part of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) 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 initiative is composed of Immigration and Customs Enforcement – HSI, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Coast Guard, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Puerto Rico, and Puerto Rico Police Department’s (PRPD) Joint Forces for Rapid Action.

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