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Contraband
08/15/2013

HSI, Caribbean Corridor Strike Force seize $24 million of cocaine, arrest 3

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), working jointly with the Caribbean Corridor Strike Force and the British Royal Navy, seized 751 kilograms of cocaine and arrested three individuals for drug trafficking Friday. The cocaine had an estimated street value of $24 million.

A U.S. Customs and Border Protection aircraft spotted a suspicious go-fast vessel and alerted the U.S. Coast Guard and the British Royal Navy. This led to the boat's interdiction 160 nautical miles south of the municipality of Ponce. After seizing the cocaine, law enforcement subsequently arrested Johnny Sarmiento-Palcacios, of Venezuela, and Johvanny Aybar-Ulloa and Johnny Bienvenido-Terrero, of the Dominican Republic.

Law enforcement transferred these individuals to the Metropolitan Detention Center in Guaynabo to await the outcome of their cases. They face between 10 years and life in prison if found guilty.

The Caribbean Corridor Strike Force investigates South American-based drug trafficking organizations responsible for moving large quantities of narcotics through the Caribbean for further distribution in the United States. It is an initiative of the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Puerto Rico. HSI, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the FBI, the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Puerto Rico Police Department's United Forces for Rapid Action participate in the strike force.

ICE encourages the public to report suspected weapons and narcotics smuggling and related information by calling at 1-866-DHS-2ICE. For more information, visit www.ice.gov.