Feds seize nearly $22M in cocaine from boat off coast of Puerto Rico

AGUADILLA, Puerto Rico — U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents intercepted a boat off the northwest coast of Puerto Rico on Saturday that was transporting nearly 1,600 pounds of suspected cocaine.

The agency’s Air and Marine Operations marine units recovered 24 bales of narcotics from the water, resulting in 618 bricks of the suspected cocaine, worth an estimated $21.7 million, being inventoried, the CBP stated in a news release.

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Hector Rojas, acting director of Air and Marine Operations in the Caribbean, stated that the bust represents the division’s “significant results” in safeguarding the nation’s borders by “leveraging our advanced aeronautical and maritime capabilities to detect and interdict illegal actors in the maritime environment.”

The intercepted vessel, which was also carrying three men from the Dominican Republic, was described as a 25-foot, single tiller-driven engine yola with multiple packages and barrels aboard.

The three men and the contraband were handed over to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration for investigation and prosecution.

With approximately 1,800 federal agents and mission support personnel, AMO oversees the deployment of 240 aircraft and 300 marine vessels throughout the United States, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.