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Jamaican arrested in seizure of 30 bales of marijuana off Puerto Rico
Published on March 4, 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 Saturday evening attempting to smuggle 30 bales of marijuana totaling 750 pounds (340.194 kilos), with an approximated street value of $1.8 million, near Ponce in the southern coast of Puerto Rico. Two men, including one Jamaican national, were arrested and a two-engine vessel was seized.

Near midnight on Saturday, a CBP Office of Air and Marine (OAM) Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA) crewed by New Orleans Air and Marine Branch (NOAM) personnel detected a twin engine open fisherman fiberglass vessel approximately 50 nautical miles south of Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico. The vessel maintained an easterly course at approximately 15 knots, without navigation lights.

The MPA maintained constant surveillance of the vessel as CBP Mayaguez and Ponce Marine Units were recalled to respond and intercept the vessel for further inspection. The MPA crew also notified the situation to Coast Guard Watchstanders in Sector San Juan, who in turn, diverted the Coast Guard Cutters Reliance and Farallon to interdict the suspect vessel.

As the USCG Cutter Reliance and cutter boat approached the go-fast vessel, the go-fast vessel operator failed to heave to and a high-speed chase ensued. The crew of the Reliance finally intercepted the go-fast vessel, approximately 40 miles southeast of Ponce, Puerto Rico.

The combined efforts resulted in the interdiction a twin engine Fountain vessel registered in St Croix, US Virgin Islands. Inside the front compartment of the vessel USCG personnel found 30 bales of marijuana.

Custody of the two individuals on board, one US citizen, and one Jamaican national, 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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