The Customs and Border Protection Bureau Seizes 2,776 Pounds of Cocaine Hidden in Boats
Agents Intercept 2,776 Pounds of Cocaine in Hidden Compartments
Agents of Air and Maritime Operations (AMO) of the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) successfully detected and seized a shipment of 2,776 pounds (1,259 kilograms) of cocaine concealed within hidden compartments of two vessels attempting to enter the island off the coast of Patillas on Thursday afternoon.
The estimated street value of the seized cocaine is approximately $28.9 million, according to a news release from the federal agency.
Efforts to Combat Transnational Criminal Organizations
“The southeast coast of Puerto Rico has become a prime target for Transnational Criminal Organizations seeking to smuggle large quantities of contraband using various tactics. Thanks to the determination and hard work of our AMO agents, over the past five months, we have successfully seized more than 15,000 pounds of cocaine, effectively removing it from the streets of Puerto Rico and the east coast of the United States,” stated Augusto Reyes, director of Air and Maritime Operations of the Caribbean Air and Marine Branch.
Successful Interception Operation
In the afternoon of June 15, an AMO aircraft crew spotted two vessels sailing at high speed north of Patillas. They immediately alerted their units in Fajardo and Ponce, who initiated surveillance and interception procedures.
Within US waters, a Marine Corps unit intercepted a twin-engine vessel and apprehended the two individuals on board without resistance. Another AMO Marine unit detained the second seized vessel.
Discovery of Hidden Compartments
During a thorough search of the two boats, law enforcement officials discovered concealed compartments containing numerous bricks of cocaine.
Collaborative Efforts for Investigation and Prosecution
The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) took custody of the seized narcotics for further investigation, while the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) arrested all four individuals involved for prosecution.
Continued Success in Combating Drug Trafficking
This recent seizure follows a previous operation on May 28, where AMO and the Puerto Rico Police Bureau seized 4,616 pounds (2,094 kilograms) of cocaine from a vessel that had reached the southeast coast of Puerto Rico.
The Customs and Border Protection Bureau has seized a significant amount of cocaine hidden in boats. Agents of the Air and Maritime Operations (AMO) division detected and seized a shipment of 2,776 pounds of cocaine in hidden compartments of two vessels attempting to enter the island through the coast of Patillas. The seizure represents a successful interception by the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection.
What strategies do the Air and Maritime Operations (AMO) division of the Customs and Border Protection Bureau use to detect and seize illegal drug shipments hidden in boats?
The Air and Maritime Operations (AMO) division of the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Bureau employs several strategies to detect and seize illegal drug shipments hidden in boats. Here are some of them:
1. Surveillance and intelligence gathering: AMO collects intelligence on suspicious vessels, drug trafficking organizations, and known smuggling routes. They use advanced surveillance technologies such as radar, sophisticated cameras, and aerial assets to monitor maritime activities and identify potential drug smuggling operations.
2. Interagency collaboration: AMO works closely with other government agencies, including the Coast Guard, Navy, and various law enforcement agencies, to share information and coordinate efforts in combating drug smuggling. This collaboration enhances their effectiveness in detecting and intercepting illegal drug shipments.
3. Targeted enforcement operations: Based on intelligence and surveillance data, AMO conducts targeted enforcement operations in specific areas with a high probability of drug smuggling. They deploy specially trained agents and K-9 teams to conduct boarding and inspection of suspicious vessels.
4. Interdiction assets: AMO maintains a fleet of boats and aircraft equipped with state-of-the-art technology designed for drug interdiction. This includes high-speed pursuit boats, interceptors, helicopters, and unmanned aerial systems, enabling them to respond quickly and effectively to potential drug smuggling vessels.
5. Advanced detection equipment: AMO utilizes a range of advanced detection equipment, such as X-ray imaging systems, radiation detectors, and canine teams, to identify hidden drug compartments within vessels. These technologies aid in the detection and seizure of drugs concealed in boats.
6. International cooperation: AMO works closely with international partners to gather intelligence, exchange information, and coordinate efforts to disrupt drug smuggling activities. This collaboration allows for a more comprehensive approach in targeting drug traffickers operating in international waters.
7. Use of analytics and intelligence tools: AMO employs data analytics and intelligence tools to assess patterns, trends, and anomalies in maritime activities. These tools enable them to make more informed decisions, prioritize targets, and allocate resources effectively.
Overall, these strategies help the AMO division of the Customs and Border Protection Bureau to detect and seize illegal drug shipments hidden in boats, contributing to the broader mission of protecting the nation’s borders and ensuring public safety.