Paulo Rosario and Alejandro Martinez were detected by a Coast Guard aircraft 32 nautical miles south of Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico, traveling east toward Puerto Rico on August 16, 2012. As the aircraft approached the vessel, the men jettisoned four bales of contraband into the water. Photo: Petty Officer 3rd Class Jon-Paul Rios
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico -- Two men who attempted illegally to smuggle cocaine into the US were found guilty of drug trafficking on Wednesday in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Paulo Rosario and Alejandro Martinez were detected by a Coast Guard aircraft 32 nautical miles south of Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico, traveling east towards Puerto Rico on August 16, 2012. As the aircraft approached the vessel, the men jettisoned four bales of contraband into the water. The Coast Guard aircrew marked the location where the bales were jettisoned and continued to follow the vessel towards the Dominican Republic.
While continuing their pursuit of the vessel, the Coast Guard notified the US Customs and Border Protection Caribbean Air and Marine Branch, who deployed a law enforcement vessel to recover the abandoned bales. The smuggling vessel was intercepted and stopped by the crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Cushing, 37 nautical miles south of Mona Island, Puerto Rico.
CBP officers recovered four bales, which contained 66 bricks of cocaine weighing more than 76 kilograms (approximately 35 pounds).
"This case highlights the effectiveness of our inter-agency partnerships and reinforces the federal government's commitment to stopping drug trafficking in the Caribbean and reducing the violent crime rate in Puerto Rico," said Rear Adm. Jake Korn, commander US Coast Guard Seventh District.
Both Rosario and Martinez were found guilty of conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute more than five kilograms or more of cocaine into the US from a place outside the US. The men have not yet been sentenced. They face a minimum of 10 years to life in prison.