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Contraband
03/12/2009

More than 633 pounds of cocaine with a street value of $11 million seized in multi-agency operation

4 U.S. citizens arrested in connection with the seizure

FAJARDO, Puerto Rico-U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) special agents working jointly with other federal officers assigned to the Caribbean Corridor Strike Force (CCSF) seized here earlier this week 633 pounds of cocaine with a street value of $ 11 million.

As a result of the joint investigative efforts by CCI participants, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers recovered approximately 248 bricks of cocaine weighing approximately 633 pounds from the Black Sea, a pleasure boat intercepted earlier by CBP marine officers. The Black Sea is registered under Michael Diaz Santiago (MDS) Productions in the British Virgin Islands.

ICE agents arrested Walter Andujar-Aponte, 42, Moises Cardona-Perez, 37, Gabriel Franqui-Irizarry, 38, and Anthony Rodriguez-Sorenti, 39 in connection with the seizure.

"ICE is committed to continue working with our federal, state and local counterparts in an effort to stop the movement of contraband in the Caribbean," said Manuel Oyola Torres, special agent in charge of the ICE Office of Investigations in San Juan. "Those involved in drug trafficking should know that the Caribbean is no longer an option to transship narcotics into the United States."

The Caribbean Corridor Strike Force investigates South American-based drug trafficking organizations responsible for the movement of multi-kilogram quantities of narcotics utilizing the Caribbean as a transshipment point for further distribution to the United States. The initiative is composed of ICE, the United States Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and U.S. Coast Guard.

Those arrested yesterday were transferred to the Metropolitan Detention Center in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico where they await the outcome of their case.