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Contraband
08/12/2010

ICE, CBP arrest 2, seize 241 kilograms of cocaine in Puerto Rico

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico - U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents, working jointly with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) air and marine enforcement officers arrested two Puerto Rican men and seized 241 kilograms of cocaine with an approximate street value of $8 million.

On Aug. 11, a CBP Caribbean Air and Marine Branch patrol aircraft detected a 17-foot makeshift vessel or "yola" traveling towards Puerto Rico with the lights out.

Two CBP marine interceptors located the suspect vessel and requested the occupants to heave, resulting in a marine pursuit to which the vessel eventually complied.

Upon boarding the vessel, law enforcement officers discovered 209 bricks weighing 241 kilograms of a white powdery substance that later tested positive as cocaine.

The occupants of the vessel, Joel Badillo Morales, 27, and Carlos Rodriguez Agudo, 36, of Aguadilla and Aguada, Puerto Rico, respectively, along with the narcotics and vessel, were transported to Boqueron, Puerto Rico, where ICE, HSI special agents took custody of the contraband and the two men.

"Through these arrests and seizures we are sending a clear message Puerto Rico will not be a safe haven for criminals looking to ship drugs into Puerto Rico and the United States," said Roberto Escobar-Vargas, acting special agent in charge of the ICE HIS Office in San Juan. "ICE along with its federal and local partners are committed to working together to stop the flow of illegal narcotics into Puerto Rico."

The case has been assigned to Assistant U.S. Attorney Jenifer Hernandez for prosecution.