(CMC) – The United States Coast Guard says it has seized cocaine worth an estimated US$3.1 million and that eight men had been detained during the interdiction of a vessel near Puerto Rico on Thursday.
It said that the crew of the Coast Guard Cutter, Legare, and the Caribbean Corridor Strike Force seized 330 pounds of cocaine in the Caribbean Sea and that the eight men who claim to be Dominican Republic nationals are facing US federal prosecution here.
The US Coast Guard said the smugglers face federal 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 US Coast Guard said.
Lieutenant Commander Charles Wilson, commanding officer of the Cutter Joseph Doyle, said the interdiction is “an example of how successful interagency cooperation can be through the use of our collective resources.
“Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Caribbean Air Marine Branch (CAMB) and the Coast Guard worked seamlessly to detect and interdict this suspected narcotics trafficking operation before it reached the shores of Puerto Rico,” he said.
The Coast Guard said 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.
“OCDETF identifies, disrupts and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach,” the US Coast Guard said.