Puerto Rico – Coast Guard crews Joseph Tezanos and Heriberto Hernandez offloaded approximately 1,289 pounds of cocaine and transferred custody of six suspected smugglers to Coast Guard Base San Juan on April 18, following two separate vessel bans near Puerto Rico, the Coast Guard’s 7th District said. in one release.
These bans are the result of multi-agency efforts involving the Caribbean Border Interagency Group and the Caribbean Corridor Strike Force. The cocaine seized has an estimated wholesale value of approximately $11.7 million.
The most recent interdiction took place during a routine patrol on April 11, 2022, after the crew of a Customs and Border Protection multipurpose aircraft sighted a suspicious vessel in waters north -west of Aguadilla, Puerto Rico. The San Juan Sector Coast Guard hijacked the cutter Heriberto Hernandez which arrived on the scene and interdicted a 25ft fast vessel. The ship was carrying four men – nationals of the Dominican Republic – and six bullets of suspected contraband, which tested positive for cocaine. The cutting team apprehended the suspects and seized the contraband.
During a routine patrol on April 6, 2022, the crew of a Customs and Border Protection multipurpose aircraft sighted a suspicious vessel north of San Juan, Puerto Rico. Coast Guard Sector San Juan hijacked cutter Joseph Tezanos who arrived on the scene and interdicted a fast 30ft vessel. The vessel was carrying three men – nationals of the Dominican Republic – and eight bullets of suspected contraband, which tested positive for cocaine. The cutting team apprehended the suspects and seized the contraband. A suspected smuggler from that group, who needed medical attention ashore, was medically evacuated Thursday to a hospital in Puerto Rico.
“Safeguarding the country’s southernmost maritime border is among our top priorities,” said Captain Gregory H. Magee, commander of Coast Guard Sector San Juan. “You can expect to see many more of these interdictions from the Coast Guard and our local and federal partners as we work together to keep fast drug trafficking vessels from making landfall in Puerto Rico or the islands. American virgins.”
Special agents supporting the Caribbean Corridor Strike Force have been given custody of the detainees and seized contraband, and they are investigating this matter. The apprehended smugglers face federal prosecution in Puerto Rico for conspiracy to import a controlled substance and conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute a controlled substance aboard a vessel under the jurisdiction of the United States. United. The charges carry a minimum sentence of 10 years in prison and a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.
Cutters Heriberto Hernandez and Joseph Tezanos are fast-response 154-foot cutters based in San Juan, Puerto Rico.