afternoon (April 21, 2018), a U.S. Customs and Border Protection maritime
patrol aircraft crew spotted a 30-foot launch south of Patillas, Puerto Rico,
with a collection of packages uncovered and visible on deck.
The aircrew alerted Coast Guard Sector San Juan, which
dispatched the 150-foot cutter Richard Dixon to intercept the
The crew of the Dixon successfully
interdicted the boat and found multiple bales of drugs on board, including 490
kilos of cocaine and 9.2 kilos of a substance believed to be heroin. The
estimated wholesale value of the shipment exceeds $13 million.
Two suspects - one American citizen from Puerto Rico
and one Dominican Republic national - were detained and transferred to shore at
drug traffickers, especially across the Caribbean, that we are hunting them
down in an all-year-round open season," said Reinaldo R. López, the Drug
Enforcement Agency's Caribbean Division Associate Special Agent in Charge.
Cocaine-smuggling interdictions are a regular
occurrence off Puerto Rico. The island holds an advantage as a drug
transshipment point: once in Puerto Rico, narcotics can fade into the regular
flow of commercial cargo to the U.S. mainland without being subject to the
scrutiny of customs inspections.
“As the cocaine flow from South America
continues to increase, law enforcement partners in the Eastern Caribbean Region
have to increase our collaborative efforts in order to effectively respond to
the threat,” said James Doby, Assistant Special Agent in Charge (ASAC) DEA