The United States Coast Guard seized an estimated 2,606 pounds of cocaine and nabbed three smugglers during an exercise in the Caribbean Sea earlier this week.
The Coast Guard said the three suspected smugglers have been handed over to the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Special Agents here and that it had collaborated with the Caribbean Border Interagency Group (CBIG) law enforcement authorities in seizing the US$30 million cocaine shipment on Tuesday.
“This interdiction is the result of ongoing multi-agency law enforcement efforts in support of Operations Full Court Press, Operation Caribbean Guard and the Caribbean Border Interagency Group,” the US Coast Guard said.
Lt. Cmdr. Mario Gil, commanding officer of the Coast Guard Cutter, Joseph Tezanos, said ‘this case was a team effort and perfect example of Caribbean Border Interagency Group partners working in coordination with Joint Interagency Task Force – East to protect the people of Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.
“This case involved a high-speed chase of over 10 hours in challenging weather conditions that was possible thanks to the tenacity and persistence of the Tezano’s crew and of our partners, who are proud to have completed the mission and prevented a large quantity of drugs from reaching the streets,” he added.
The US Coast Guard said the crew of two Customs and Border Protection Caribbean Air and Marine Branch maritime patrol aircrafts also responded and supported the interdiction by maintaining aerial surveillance of the go-fast vessel.
“Throughout the multi-hour pursuit, the Coast Guard and CBP aircrews vectored-in the cutter Joseph Tezanos to the go-fast’s position,” it said.