News Americas, SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico , Fri. Mar. 7, 2014: Some 1,103 kilograms of cocaine with an estimated street value of $30 million has been seized by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), working jointly with the Caribbean Corridor Strike Force (CCSF).
On March 3, a maritime patrol aircraft from Coast Guard Air Station Miami detected a suspicious go-fast vessel with two outboard engines and two subjects onboard traveling northbound and without navigation lights 20 nautical miles south of Ponce. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) dispatched a marine unit to intercept the suspicious vessel for further inspection.
CBP officers intercepted the go-fast vessel approximately six miles south of Ponce, and arrested Gregorio Rodriguez and Englis Perez, both citizens of the Dominican Republic, upon the discovery of 38 bales containing approximately 1,103 kilograms of cocaine.
HSI special agents took custody of the individuals and the contraband and the investigation is ongoing.
Those arrested were transferred to the Metropolitan Detention Center in Guaynabo awaiting the outcome of their case. If convicted, Rodriguez and Perez could face a sentence from 10 years up to life in prison.
“HSI will continue working with our CCSF partners to investigate and prosecute those who in flagrant disregard of our laws and way of life try to smuggle or transport illegal contraband in our area of jurisdiction,” said Angel M. Melendez, special agent in charge of HSI San Juan. “This seizure demonstrates what can be accomplished when law enforcement agencies work together with vigilance and a commitment to enforce our nation’s customs laws.”