CBP, HSI Seize 86 Pounds Of Cocaine Concealed Inside Boat Hull
FAJARDO — U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI ) seized 86 pounds (39 kilos) of cocaine found Wednesday concealed inside the hull of a 26 foot boat. The estimated value of the cocaine is $1 million.
“Our collective effort and resolve are key to secure the Caribbean borders from attempts to smuggle narcotics into the region,” stated Johnny Morales, Director of Air Operations at the CBP Caribbean Air and Marine Branch.
A CBP Air and Marine Operation Interceptor vessel along with HSI agents held for inspection a vessel that was towed from the island municipality of Culebra, some 23 miles off the eastern coast of Puerto Rico, to the Puerto Chico Marina, in Fajardo. During the inspection a K-9 agent from CBP alerted of the presence of narcotics inside the boat.
A CBP Field Operations X-ray inspection of the boat revealed a hidden compartment within the hull and under the starboard deck area, where 46 brick shaped objects were found. A powdery substance tested positive to cocaine.
HSI special agents assumed custody of the boat and contraband for further investigation.
CBP has the legal authority to conduct border searches of persons, merchandise or conveyances that cross or are about to cross an international border – without a warrant or probable cause. Border search authority includes inbound, in-transit and outbound searches.
None of the law enforcement agencies involved in the operation reported any arrests related to the seizing of the contraband.