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June 27, 2011St. Thomas, VI, United StatesNarcotics

ICE seizes 532 kilograms of cocaine in US Virgin Islands

ST. THOMAS, U.S. Virgin Islands - About 531 kilograms (1168 pounds) of cocaine with a street value of $16 million was seized from a St. Thomas residence on Monday by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the U.S. Virgin Islands Police Department (USVIPD).

In addition to the cocaine, ICE HSI special agents and USVIPD officers also seized six kilograms (13 pounds) of marijuana and two automatic pistols.

No arrests have been made; however, the ICE HSI investigation continues.

"We will continue our efforts to eradicate drug trafficking in our communities and will not allow drug smugglers to import drug shipments into our jurisdiction - Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands," said Roberto Escobar Vargas, special agent in charge of ICE HSI in Puerto Rico.

During the last six weeks, ICE HSI agents in Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands, working jointly with local and state agencies, have seized more than 2,250 kilograms (4950 pounds) of cocaine with a street value of about $67 million.

As a leader in narcotics investigations and enforcement, ICE participates in key task forces around the country. ICE is committed to strong investigative partnerships with federal, state and local law enforcement.

The High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Task Force initiative brings law enforcement agency partners together to combat drug-trafficking crimes in designated areas around the country that have a high concentration of narcotic distribution, transportation, smuggling and other drug-related activities.

ICE participates in 30 of the 32 HIDTA programs around the country. The HIDTA task forces are administered by the U.S. Office of National Drug Control Policy, which launched the program in 1990.

The Puerto Rico HIDTA was established in 1994 and oversees the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Updated: 12/29/2014