US Coast Guard Offloads Over $23 Million In Illegal Narcotics Seized In Caribbean Sea

(CMC) – The United States (US) Coast Guard says the crew of the Cutter Joseph Napier (WPC 1115) offloaded more than 2,024 pounds of cocaine worth more than USS$23-million that was seized in the Caribbean Sea.

Earlier this week, the US Coast Guard said the drugs that were offloaded were intercepted by the Coast Guard Cutter Joseph Napier and US Customs and Border Protection multi-role enforcement aircraft on June 18, in the Caribbean Sea, south of Puerto Rico.

“This crew never ceases to amaze with their dedication and relentless work ethic, especially our pursuit team who swiftly interdicted and stopped another drug-smuggling vessel from making it to Puerto Rico,” said Lieutenant DeVonte Weems, Coast Guard Cutter Joseph Napier commanding officer.

“This was a smooth interdiction made possible by the great work of the Napier crew, US Customs and Border Protection Caribbean Air & Marine Branch, and Sector San Juan Command Center personnel.”

“The commitment and resolve of the Coast Guard and our US and local law enforcement partners in interdicting drug smuggling vessels at sea is unwavering,” said Captain José E Díaz, Coast Guard Sector San Juan commander.

“Our guardians risk their lives daily to safeguard the people of Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands from this threat and prevent illegal narcotics from reaching US shores,” he added.

Along with the illicit narcotics, four suspected smugglers, one Colombian, one Dominican Republic and two Venezuelan nationals, were apprehended and face prosecution by the US Department of Justice in the US Federal District Court in Puerto Rico, the US Coast Guard said.

It said the Transnational Organized Crime Division of the US Attorney’s Office for the District of Puerto Rico is leading the prosecution for this case, while special agents supporting the Caribbean Corridor Strike Force are leading the investigation.

The US 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 organisations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach,” the US Coast Guard said.