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ICE arrests Puerto Rican man in St. Thomas, seizes 12 kilograms of cocaine

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents, working jointly with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at the Cyril E. King Airport in St. Thomas on Monday arrested a Manati, Puerto Rico, resident and seized approximately 12 kilograms of cocaine.

Jesus Mejias-Febles, 26, an enlisted member of the Puerto Rico National Guard, was arrested during a CBP tarmac security check at the St. Thomas airport. He was observed placing two boxes into a commercial cargo aircraft while not wearing his airport identification badge. His suspicious demeanor when confronted by CBP officers led to a search of the two boxes which resulted in the discovery of 12 bricks wrapped in gray duct tape which tested positive for cocaine in a field test.

"HSI will continue working with our DHS and federal and local partners to identify, arrest and prosecute those involved in the illegal trafficking of narcotics," said Angel Melendez, acting special agent in charge of HSI San Juan. "Those who think that the U.S. Virgin Islands is an easy transshipment point to smuggle drugs into the mainland, should think twice. HSI and its partners are vigilant, and those responsible will be arrested and brought to justice."

Mejias-Febles was remanded to the custody of the U.S. Marshals. He was transferred to the Virgin Islands Corrections Bureau pending a detention hearing. He had his initial appearance before U.S. Judge Ruth Miller on Tuesday. He is charged with possession of cocaine with intent to distribute and possession of cocaine aboard an airplane.

HSI special agents have extensive knowledge of 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. Through continued training, the use of emerging technologies and dedication, HSI has maintained its expertise in disrupting and dismantling these criminal organizations.

HSI encourages the public to report suspected narcotic smuggling and related information by calling at 1-866-DHS-2ICE. For more information, visit www.ice.gov.