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CBP AMO interdicts $3,1M of cocaine in different vessels

CBP AMO interdicts $3,1M of cocaine in different vessels
CBP AMO interdicts $3,1M of cocaine in two different vessels, Culebra Island and Vieques.
Archive image: CBP-AMO (United States Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine Operations) AS350 B3 (A-STAR) helicopter takes-off from Alpine Airport to conducted a mission in the Big Bend Sector area of operation.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection photo by Greg L. Davis

FAJARDO, Puerto Rico — CBP AMO (Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine Operations), US Border Patrol and Puerto Rico Police seized 136 bricks of cocaine with an estimated value of $3, 1M and arrested three people, in two separate incidents that occurred Wednesday in Culebra and Friday in Vieques.

On May 3, during a routine patrol, the crew of an CBP-AMO aircraft located a vessel without navigation lights meeting another vessel, without lights, near Savanah Island, in ST. Thomas, US Virgin Islands. The vessel encounter was brief and both vessels immediately separated.

The aircraft followed the vessel navigating west reaching the “Las Pelas” area in the island of Culebra. As the vessel remained adrift away from a dock, an AMO Coastal Interceptor vessel approached and detained the captain.

Agents found inside a duffle bag containing 23 bricks of cocaine and arrested the vessels’ captain, a US Citizen. 

At the Fajardo Boathouse, AMO agents handed custody of the contraband and the individual to Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Special Agents for investigation and prosecution.

On May 4, an AMO aircraft aircrew detected a lights-out vessel navigating from St Thomas to Vieques, Puerto Rico. Two AMO Coastal Interceptor vessels reached and pursued the vessel who failed to heave. 

The three vessel occupants landed in a Vieques unloading large duffle bags in the brush and went on the run. BORTAC agents disembarked and gave chase with support from Puerto Rico Police Department and a FURA boat unit.

Agents were able to find and arrest two individuals, seizing 113 bricks of cocaine. An AS350 A-STAR helicopter crew, is searched the area to try to locate the third individual. The two arrestees are adult males, US citizens with domiciled in Vieques.

The subjects and contraband were transferred over to the custody of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

BORTAC and the CBP-AMO National Air Security Operations Center in Grand Forks, ND, were assisting local operations.

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