Federal agents have made a significant drug seizure off the coast of Puerto Rico, confiscating a staggering $35 million worth of cocaine, according to a statement by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection on Thursday.
The operation was carried out by a highly capable Air and Marine Operations crew based in Jacksonville, who were on assignment in the area. They observed a 30-foot vessel heading north towards Puerto Rico, with clearly visible packages of drugs and three individuals on board, authorities reported.
However, the suspect vessel encountered an unfortunate mishap as it ran aground on a reef, leading to the apprehension of the three men. Among them, two hailed from the Dominican Republic, while the third individual was from Colombia. Federal agents wasted no time in searching the boat, discovering a total of 44 bales containing a mind-boggling 3,382 pounds of cocaine, equivalent to 1,500 kilos.
This seizure ranks among the largest drug interdictions carried out in Puerto Rican waters this year. The region is widely recognized as a major transit point for drugs destined for the United States and other nations. Back in June, federal agents successfully intercepted another shipment weighing a whopping 3,000 pounds, valued at $32 million, along the island’s eastern coast. Furthermore, earlier this year, a record-breaking $50 million worth of cocaine was seized in the southeast region of Puerto Rico.
As of now, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has assumed custody of both the narcotics and the three individuals involved in the operation. Denise Foster, the DEA’s Caribbean division special agent in charge, expressed her concern about the detrimental impact of drug trafficking on Puerto Rico. Foster emphasized the importance of collaborative efforts among law enforcement agencies to combat these drug trafficking organizations, stating, “The DEA will continue to work with its counterparts, strengthening our partnerships to eradicate these drug trafficking organizations.”
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