US Coast Guard transfers three smugglers, $3.75M in seized cocaine

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SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — A Coast Guard Boat Station San Juan crew transferred custody of three men and $3.75 million in seized cocaine Monday to federal agents in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

The Coast Guard Cutter Donald Horsley crew seized 125 kilograms of cocaine after interdicting a drug smuggling go-fast vessel Friday afternoon, in Atlantic waters north of Vega Baja, Puerto Rico.

The apprehended smugglers, Dominican Republic nationals, are facing federal prosecution in Puerto Rico on drug smuggling criminal charges of 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 ten years imprisonment and a maximum sentence of imprisonment for life.

The Transnational Organized Crime assistant US attorney John Hutchins from the US. attorney’s office for the District of Puerto Rico is leading the prosecution for this case.

During a routine patrol of Puerto Rico’s northern coast, the aircrew of a Customs and Border Protection maritime enforcement aircraft detected a suspicious go-fast vessel.

Coast Guard watchstanders at Sector San Juan diverted the Coast Guard Cutter Donald Horsley to interdict the suspect vessel. Once on scene and with the assistance of the cutter’s Over the Horizon boat, the crew of the Donald Horsley intercepted the go-fast vessel, seized five bales of suspected contraband, and apprehended the three smugglers.

A Station San Juan 45-foot Response Boat-Medium rendezvoused with the cutter Horsley and embarked the seized contraband and detainees for transport to San Juan, Puerto Rico.

“The professionalism, close collaboration and quick response between the crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Donald Horsley, our watchstanders and the aircrew of the Customs and Border Protection aircraft resulted the successful interdiction of a drug smuggling go-fast vessel and the apprehension of three smugglers,” said Cmdr. Beau Powers, Sector San Juan chief of response. “This case reflects the Coast Guard’s unwavering commitment working alongside our fellow federal and local partner agencies to protect the nation’s coasts and safeguard of our fellow citizens in Puerto Rico against drug smuggling threats.”

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