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Contraband
12/05/2011

ICE, federal and local partners, seize 300 kilograms of cocaine in Puerto Rico

Contraband has an estimated street value of $6.5 million

ICE, federal and local partners, seize 300 kilograms of cocaine in Puerto Rico
ICE, federal and local partners, seize 300 kilograms of cocaine in Puerto Rico
ICE, federal and local partners, seize 300 kilograms of cocaine in Puerto Rico
ICE, federal and local partners, seize 300 kilograms of cocaine in Puerto Rico

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – On Saturday, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents working jointly with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Puerto Rico Police Department (PRPD) seized 300 kilograms of cocaine. This cocaine has an estimated street value of $6.5 million.

A CBP aircraft first spotted a suspicious 25-foot twin engine go-fast vessel approximately 59 nautical miles north of Quebradillas, Puerto Rico. Upon detection, the passengers onboard the go-fast vessel began jettisoning large bales of suspected contraband into the water.

Upon deploying their marine assets and interdicting the go-fast vessel, CBP recovered eight bales from the water, and two additional bales onboard the vessel for a total of 300 kilograms of cocaine.

The five passengers onboard were taken into custody and turned over to ICE HSI for further investigation.   They were transferred to the Guaynabo, Puerto Rico Metropolitan Detention Center awaiting the outcome of their case.

"This significant seizure and the arrests of five individuals for allegedly attempting to import illegal drugs into the U.S. proves once more HSI's commitment  to work with our DHS and local partners to stop the illegal traffic of narcotics," said Roberto Escobar Vargas, special agent in charge of ICE HSI in Puerto Rico.  "Those engaged in the drug trafficking business should know that we will continue using all our resources to identify you, arrest you and prosecute you."

ICE agents have extensive knowledge of the border environment and techniques employed by smuggling organizations to transport contraband into the United States. This expertise has been gained through years of experience in conducting undercover operations, utilizing confidential informants, special enforcement operations and conducting contraband smuggling investigations.

The methods used by smuggling organizations are always changing and through continued training, the use of emerging technologies and dedication, ICE has maintained its expertise in disrupting and dismantling these criminal organizations.