Drug traffickers suffered yet another setback today. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) special agents and Puerto Rico Police Department (PRPD) officers stopped "The Islander," a ferry boat carrying vehicles from neighboring island Vieques, for a routine inspection. That inspection led to the seizure of nearly 560 kilograms of cocaine with an estimated street value of nearly $13 million.
"In less than two weeks ICE Homeland Security Investigations and PRPD have seized more than 1,500 kilograms of cocaine destined for Puerto Rico which shows the level of cooperation and commitment of our agencies to the safety of our communities," said Roberto Escobar Vargas, special agent in charge of ICE HSI in Puerto Rico.
In this particular seizure, agents and officers seized 32.9 kilograms of cocaine and a loaded pistol from a Dodge Durango onboard the boat. They immediately arrested two individuals who were with the vehicle. At that point, a white van attempted to avoid inspection by taking off at a high speed. After a hot pursuit, law enforcement officers arrested the drivers of that vehicle and seized an additional 525 kilograms of cocaine.
"ICE will continue using all its resources to identify and arrest those who mistakenly think that Puerto Rico is a safe haven for criminals looking to ship drugs into the United States," Vargas.
This investigation is ongoing. If convicted, the defendants could face life in prison.
Learn more about ICE's narcotics enforcement efforts.