Federal agents from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection have seized a significant amount of cocaine worth $35 million from a boat off Puerto Rico’s southern coast. The seizure was made by a Jacksonville-based Air and Marine Operations crew who spotted a 30-foot vessel traveling north towards Puerto Rico. The boat was carrying visible bales of drugs and had three occupants on board. The vessel eventually ran aground a reef, leading to the arrest of the three men, two from the Dominican Republic and one from Colombia.
Upon searching the boat, agents discovered 44 bales containing a total of 3,382 pounds (1,500 kilos) of cocaine. This seizure is one of the largest reported off Puerto Rican waters this year, which are known to be a transit point for drugs destined for the United States and other countries.
In June, federal agents intercepted another load of cocaine weighing 3,000 pounds on the island’s eastern coast, valued at $32 million. Additionally, in 2021, a record-breaking $50 million load of cocaine was seized off Puerto Rico’s southeast region.
The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has taken custody of the three individuals involved in the drug trafficking operation, as well as the seized narcotics. Denise Foster, the DEA’s Caribbean division special agent in charge, emphasized the role of drug trafficking in fueling violence in Puerto Rico and expressed the agency’s commitment to working with partners to eradicate these criminal organizations.