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AMO Agents Interdict Vessel Attempting to Smuggle 40 Bales of Cocaine Near Vieques

FAJARDO, Puerto Rico— US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Air and Marine Operations (AMO) agents intercepted Wednesday a vessel with two occupants transporting 40 bales of cocaine south of Vieques island.  The estimated weight is nearly 2,646 pounds (1,200 kilos), which would be valued at around $26.4 million.

“Smuggling attempts into Puerto Rico come from many areas throughout the island” stated Augusto Reyes, Director of the Caribbean Air and Marine Branch.  “AMO agents are committed to use all our capabilities to interdict them throughout our coastal areas.”

On Oct. 26, a AMO Multirole Enforcement Aircraft (MEA) crew detected a “yola” type vessel with two engines and two persons onboard, navigating northwest toward Vieques. The MEA maintained visual contact with the vessel and contacted the crew of a Fajardo Coastal Interceptor vessel to intercept. 

Marine Interdiction Agents interdicted a Spyder type “yola” vessel with two 150 horsepower engines.  The two occupants claimed to be US citizens.

Inside the vessel the agents recovered 40 bales containing a white powdery substance which tested positive for the properties of cocaine.

The Drug Enforcement Administration and the Federal Bureau of Investigations took custody of the individuals and the contraband for prosecution.

AMO safeguards our Nation by anticipating and confronting security threats through our aviation and maritime law enforcement expertise, innovative capabilities, and partnerships at the border and beyond.  With approximately 1,800 federal agents and mission support personnel, 240 aircraft, and 300 marine vessels operating throughout the United States, Puerto Rico, and U.S. Virgin Islands, AMO conducts its mission in the air and maritime environments at and beyond the border, and within the nation's interior.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the comprehensive management, control, and protection of our nation’s borders, combining customs, immigration, border security, and agricultural protection at and between official ports of entry.