SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Joseph Tezanos offloaded 551 pounds (250 kgs) of seized cocaine Tuesday in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Three men, one Venezuelan and two Dominican Republic nationals, apprehended in this case are facing federal prosecution in Puerto Rico.
The interdiction is the result of multi-agency efforts in support of the Caribbean Corridor Strike Force. The seized cocaine has an estimated wholesale value of approximately $5.2 million dollars.
During the morning of June 30, the crew of a Customs and Border Protection Caribbean Air and Marine Multi-Role Enforcement Aircraft (MEA) detected a “yola” type vessel navigating towards Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico. Coast Guard watchstanders in Sector San Juan diverted the cutter Joseph Doyle that arrived on scene and stopped the suspect vessel.
The Coast Guard crew apprehended the three men and embarked eight bales from the suspect vessel that tested positive for cocaine. The seized contraband was later transferred to the Coast Guard Cutter Joseph Tezanos for delivery to San Juan, Puerto Rico.
“This successful interdiction is due to the strong collaboration between the Coast Guard and our fellow federal law enforcement partners,” said Capt. José E. Díaz, Coast Guard Sector San Juan commander. “We will continue to do our utmost to stop drug smuggling vessels at sea and protect the nation’s southernmost maritime border from illicit trafficking.”
The apprehended smugglers face federal prosecution in Puerto Rico on criminal charges Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute a Controlled Substance Aboard a Vessel Subject to the Jurisdiction of the United States. The charges carry a minimum sentence of 10 years imprisonment and a maximum sentence of imprisonment for life.
Transnational Organized Crime Assistant US attorney Antonio Perez from the US attorney’s office for the District of Puerto Rico is leading the prosecution for this case.
Cutter Joseph Doyle and cutter Joseph Tezanos are 154-foot fast response cutter that is homeported in San Juan, Puerto Rico.