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September 15, 2023San Juan, PR, United StatesNarcotics

HSI and CBP officers find 71 pounds of cocaine inside ice cream machines arriving from the Dominican Republic

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Homeland Security Investigations’ (HSI) Border Enforcement Security Task Force (BEST) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers seized 71 pounds of cocaine on Sept. 13. The controlled substance was concealed inside six ice cream machines in a moving truck that arrived in Puerto Rico on a ferry from the Dominican Republic. The estimated street value of the seized contraband is $768,000. During a routine inspection of cargo from the marine vessel KYDON, officials discovered the bricks of cocaine.

HSI agents took custody of the seized consignment for investigation.

“The BEST mission is to protect our borders from criminal organizations by working together with members of multiple agencies to interdict, disrupt and dismantle transnational criminal organizations. CBP and HSI work together to protect our ports of entry,” said HSI San Juan Special Agent in Charge Rebecca Gonzalez-Ramos.

“Illicit narcotics are concealed by transnational criminal organizations among legitimate cargo to try to avoid detection,” said Roberto Vaquero, director of field operations for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. “Our CBP officers use technology, as well as their training and expertise to discover the concealment methods and avoid these dangerous drugs from reaching our communities.”

HSI is the principal investigative arm of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), responsible for investigating transnational crime and threats, specifically those criminal organizations that exploit the global infrastructure through which international trade, travel, and finance move. HSI’s workforce of more than 8,700 employees consists of more than 6,000 special agents assigned to 237 cities throughout the United States, and 93 overseas locations in 56 countries. HSI’s international presence represents DHS’s largest investigative law enforcement presence abroad and one of the largest international footprints in U.S. law enforcement.