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Go-fast vessel with 38 bales of cocaine intercepted off southern coast of Puerto Rico
Published on March 6, 2014 Email To Friend    Print Version

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico -- US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and US Coast Guard (USCG) assets intercepted a vessel on Monday evening attempting to smuggle 38 bales of cocaine, totaling 2,432 pounds (1,103 kilos), with an approximated street value of $27.5 million, south of the city of Ponce in the southern coast of the island. Two men were arrested and a two-engine vessel was seized.

US Magistrate Camille Vélez-Rivé authorized a complaint charging Gregorio Rodríguez and Englis Pérez with conspiracy to import controlled substances, announced Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez, United States Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico.

Near midnight, a USCG Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA) requested assistance from a CBP Office of Air and Marine (OAM) MPA to maintain surveillance of a center console vessel, of approximately 40ft in length with two outboard engines and two subjects onboard, traveling northbound and without navigation lights. The vessel maintained a northern course through the Caribbean Sea en route towards the southern coast of Puerto Rico.

The MPA maintained constant surveillance of the vessel as CBP Ponce Marine Units were recalled to respond and intercept the vessel for further inspection.

A CBP Marine Unit intercepted the go-fast vessel south of Ponce, Puerto Rico, finding two individuals on board who claimed to be citizens of the Dominican Republic, along with visible bales that later tested positive to cocaine.

“The collaborative operations and partnerships under CBIG always yield positive results to stop smuggling ventures,” stated Johnny Morales, Director of Air Operations for CBP’s Caribbean Air and Marine Branch (CAMB).

Custody of the two individuals on board, the narcotics and the vessel were transferred over to Special Agents of US Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) for further investigation and prosecution.
 
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