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Contraband
06/27/2011

ICE seizes 132 kilograms of cocaine during multi-agency operation

Contraband has an estimated street value of $11 million

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico - On Saturday, 132 kilograms (290 pounds) of cocaine with a street value of $11 million was seized in Fajardo, Puerto Rico, by agents and officers from the following agencies: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), and Puerto Rico Police Department (PRPD).

As part of a multi-agency operation, law enforcement officers assigned to the task force inspected vehicles, passengers and cargo on board ferries at the Fajardo port of entry arriving from the islands of Culebra and Vieques, off the southeast coast of Puerto Rico.

During the inspection, CBP scanned a dump truck that arrived from Culebra, which revealed brick-shaped objects concealed in the hydraulic system of the truck's bed. Further inspection revealed that the hydraulic shaft was removed and the bottom was welded. When CBP attempted to identify the driver, he fled the port area undetected abandoning the truck.

PRPD officers subsequently obtained a state warrant to search the dump truck. The search revealed 116 bricks of cocaine weighing a total of 132.10 kilograms.

The cocaine and the dump truck were turned over to ICE HSI special agents for further investigation.

There were no arrests associated with the seizure; however, the ICE HSI investigation continues.

The seizure represents the second multi-kilogram cocaine seizure in the Fajardo port-of-entry in less than six weeks. On May 17, while conducting a routine checkpoint inspection on the ferry The Islander, ICE HSI special agents and officers with the PRPD maritime unit - commonly known as FURA - seized 32.9 kilograms of cocaine and a loaded pistol from a Dodge Durango that had just arrived into Fajardo from Vieques. Immediately after the contraband was seized and the two individuals in the vehicle were arrested, the driver of a white van tried to avoid inspection by taking off at high speed, which generated a hot pursuit by PRPD. Law enforcement officers were able to stop the vehicle near Fajardo, arrested its occupant, and seized the additional 525 kilograms of cocaine.