SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico -- US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers discovered 7.3 kilograms (16 pounds) of heroin concealed within a vehicle arriving from the Dominican Republic on the ferry on Monday.
In a separate incident on Monday CBP field operations officers and Puerto Rico Police Department (PRPD) FURA agents, working in support of the Caribbean Corridor Strike Force (CCSF), seized approximately 50 kilograms (110.23 pounds) of cocaine during a joint law enforcement operation.
While performing inbound inspections of passenger vehicles that arrived from Dominican Republic onboard the M/V Caribbean Fantasy, CBP officers performed a thorough inspection of one of the vehicles and discovered, hidden within it, nine packages of a substance which subsequently field tested positive for the properties of heroin. The heroin weighed approximately 16 pounds, with an estimated value of $420,000.
Customs and Border Protection officers arrested the driver of the vehicle, Jaironel Lajara, 23, a United States citizen and resident of San Juan, Puerto Rico.
On Monday night, while participating in a Caribbean Border Interagency Group (CBIG) joint operation in support of the Caribbean Corridor Strike Force, CBP officers were assisting PRPD agents in performing non-intrusive inspection of passengers and vehicles on board the ferry Cayo Blanco, which arrived from the municipality of Culebra. During the non-intrusive inspection of the ferry, a PRPD canine alerted to a vehicle with Puerto Rico license plates.
Inside the vehicle, CBP officers discovered a suitcase containing brick-shaped items wrapped in gray tape. One of the packages was opened and revealed a white powdery substance, which was field tested and reacted positive to the properties of cocaine.
“In a concerted effort to keep dangerous drugs from reaching our communities, local and federal law enforcement agencies will continue to work together to intercept smuggling attempts,” stated Fajardo port director George Rivera.
The approximately fifty kilograms of cocaine, with an estimated street value of $1.25 million, were seized and transferred to US Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) for further investigation.