U.S. Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine Operations (AMO) Agents, seized Tuesday 80 bales of cocaine weighing 3,941 pounds (1,787.4 Kilos) and arrested two US citizens attempting to reach the island of Vieques, Puerto Rico. The estimated value of the seized cocaine is $ 44.7 million.
“AMO leverages all of its resources to interdict smugglers throughout this area,” stated Johnny Morales, Director, Air and Marine Operations for the Caribbean Air and Marine Branch.
On Sept. 15, the Caribbean Air and Marine Branch (CAMB) launched a New Orleans Air and Marine Branch (NOAMB) Multi-Role Enforcement Aircraft (MEA) to conduct a Border Security Patrol on the east and southeast of Puerto Rico.
Near midnight, the MEA crew detected a suspect vessel approximately 75 nautical miles south of St, Croix, US Virgin Islands, navigating northbound at a high rate of speed.
The New Orleans crew contacted AMO Marine Units and maintained surveillance to assist in the interception, as the vessel moved towards Vieques, Puerto Rico. The AMO Marine Unit intercepted the suspect vessel in Vieques waters.
AMO Marine agents arrested two US citizens, and found 80 bales containing bricks, which tested positive to the properties of cocaine.
Homeland Security Investigation assumed custody of the defendants and the seized cocaine for investigation and prosecution.
The mission of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Air and Marine Operations is to safeguard our Nation by anticipating and confronting security threats through our aviation and maritime law enforcement expertise, innovative capabilities, and partnerships at the border and beyond. With 1,800 federal agents and mission support personnel, 240 aircraft and 300 marine vessels operating throughout the United States, Puerto Rico, and U.S. Virgin Islands, Air and Marine Operations uses its sophisticated fleets to detect, sort, intercept, track and apprehend criminals in diverse environments at and beyond U.S. borders.