U.S. Coast Guard along with the Customs Border Protection (CBP) unit successfully intercepted a fast-go vessel off the coast of Puerto Rico near Mona island on July 10th, followed by the seizure of massive cocaine consignment worth $15M. They also withheld two smugglers onboard, aided by the coast guard cutter
The 1,104 pounds of cocaine found in 502 loose packages confiscated from the 24-foot long vessel were offloaded at the U.S. Coast Guard base in . This happened two days later, on July 12th. The custody of two detained smugglers was also exchanged at the base to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Puerto Rico.
The interception was successful due to the close coordination between various U.S agencies like the CBP, Coast Guard, and the Caribbean Corridor Strike Force (CCSF). The vessel was first tagged suspicious of drug trafficking by the Air and Marine operations Aircrew of the CBP while on a routine patrol on Saturday. CBP notified other agencies of the U.S. southern command for the counter-narcotics operation.
The U.S. Coast Guard which was under a regular mission in the region in close vicinity was diverted to carry out the pursuit to interdict the vessel vectored by the CBP aircraft. ‘s arrival at the scene led to the hot pursuit of the fast-go vessel. The two men were observed throwing the drug packages overboard which were later recovered. Ultimately, the vessel was intercepted in Mona Passage waters.
Lt. Anthony Orr, the commanding officer of Cutter expressed his delight as he said, “As Joseph Tezanos completes her patrol, we return home with the pride that half a metric ton of cocaine will not make it to the streets.”