(CMC) – The United States (US) Coast Guards says it has offloaded an estimated 551 pounds of cocaine seized in the Caribbean Sea.
It said three men, including two nationals from the Dominican Republic, had been apprehended and are facing US federal prosecution in Puerto Rico.
The interdiction is the result of multi-agency efforts in support of the Caribbean Corridor Strike Force, the US Coast Guard said, adding that the seized cocaine has an estimated street value of US$5.2 million.
On June 30, the crew of a Customs and Border Protection Caribbean Air and Marine Multi-Role Enforcement Aircraft (MEA) detected a “yola” type vessel navigating in the Caribbean Sea towards Puerto Rico.
“Coast Guard watchstanders in Sector San Juan diverted the Coast Guard Cutter Joseph Doyle that arrived on scene and stopped the suspect vessel. The Coast Guard crew apprehended the three men and embarked eight bales from the suspect vessel that tested positive for cocaine.”
Coast Guard Sector San Juan commander, Captain José E Díaz, said “this successful interdiction is due to the strong collaboration between the Coast Guard and our fellow federal law enforcement partners.”
“We will continue to do our utmost to stop drug smuggling vessels at sea and protect the nation’s southernmost maritime border from illicit trafficking,” he added.
The US Coast Guard said those arrested will face criminal charges including 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