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U.S. Coast Guard, Border Patrol Team Up on Cocaine Bust

cocaine
Image courtesy USCG

By The Maritime Executive 01-27-2021 02:56:00

Last weekend, a Coast Guard aircrew worked together with U.S. Border Patrol agents during a drug smuggling interdiction that resulted in the seizure of 70 kilos of cocaine and the arrest of two suspected smugglers near Isabela, Puerto Rico. The estimated wholesale value of the seized cocaine is $1.9 million.

While on a routine patrol on Saturday night, the crew of a Coast Guard aircraft spotted a suspicious 21-foot go-fast boat about four nautical miles northwest of Aguadilla, Puerto Rico. Coast Guard watchstanders in Sector San Juan alerted the U.S. Border Patrol from Ramey Sector and put the Coast Guard aircrew in direct communication with Border Patrol units ashore.  

While keeping an eye on the vessel, the Coast Guard aircrew vectored in the Border Patrol units to the location where the suspects made landfall. The Border Patrol agents (including a K-9 unit) apprehended two men and seized 58 packages of cocaine. 

Courtesy USCG

“Once our crew located the vessel, U.S. Border Patrol responded quickly to seize the suspects and narcotics. Our partnership is integral to protecting our shores and keeping our community safe,” said Lt. Karl Alejandre, Coast Guard Air Station Miami HC-144 Ocean Sentry aircraft commander.

The collaboration was the result of the efforts of the Caribbean Border Interagency Group (CBIG), which is focused on securing the borders of Puerto Rico.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement - Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI) took custody the contraband and the suspected smugglers for prosecution.