US Drug catch off Puerto Rico

The US Coast Guard announced that it offloaded more than 2,024 pounds of cocaine worth more than $23 million in San Juan, Puerto Rico, on Monday.

The offloaded drugs were interdicted by the US Coast Guard Cutter Joseph Napier and US Customs and Border Protection multi-role enforcement aircraft on June 18, in Caribbean Sea international waters south of Puerto Rico.

Four suspected smugglers, one Colombian, one Dominican Republic and two Venezuelan nationals, were arrested and face prosecution by the Department of Justice in the US Federal District Court in Puerto Rico.

The Transnational Organized Crime Division of the US Attorney’s Office for the District of Puerto Rico is leading the prosecution for this case, while Special Agents supporting the Caribbean Corridor Strike Force are leading the investigation.

The interdiction is the result of multi-agency efforts involving the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF), the Caribbean Border Interagency Group and the Caribbean Corridor Strike Force.

OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach.

“The commitment and resolve of the Coast Guard and our US and local law enforcement partners in interdicting drug smuggling vessels at sea is unwavering,” said Capt. José E. Díaz, Coast Guard Sector San Juan commander.

“Our guardians risk their lives daily to safeguard the people of in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands from this threat and prevent illegal narcotics from reaching U.S. shores,” Diaz added.