AN JUAN, Puerto Rico —U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Air and Marine Operations (AMO) agents detected and intercepted a vessel Oct.12, with 123 pounds (56 kilos) of cocaine. Two men were arrested. The estimated wholesale value of the narcotics is $1.5 million.
Near midnight, a CBP DHC-8 Maritime Patrol Aircraft crew detected a small 23-foot wooden “yola” vessel with one outboard engine and two persons onboard, approximately northwest of Aguadilla, Puerto Rico, heading eastbound.

“Air and Marine Operations is always vigilant of the Caribbean waters to detect and intercept smuggling attempts such as this one,” said Johnny Morales, Director, Air Operations for the Caribbean Air and Marine Branch.

image_0    2The CBP AMO aircrew contacted Coast Guard Sector San Juan and AMO marine units to deploy, maintained surveillance of the vessel. ,

Shortly past midnight, AMO MIAs reached the vessel and ordered the men on board to stop. The vessel failed to heave and the men onboard started to throw packages into the water as the agents pursued.

Once the agents stopped the vessel, a USCG small boat crew and MIAs recovered a few packages from the water; that appeared to be contraband. MIAs apprehended the two men on board, who claimed to be Dominican Republic nationals.

The USCG destroyed the “yola” on scene. Both detainees were transferred to a USCG cutter for transport to the Mayaguez port, where they were transferred, along with the contraband, to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Homeland Security Investigations Special Agents for prosecution and investigation.

AMO is a federal law enforcement organization dedicated to serving and protecting the American people through advanced aeronautical and maritime capabilities.

HOUSTON — U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers working at the Houston Seaport seized prescription medication worth over $78,000 bound for Nigeria,
CBP officers discovered the prescription medication concealed among common household goods.

A total of 229, 992 tablets and pills including boxes of Amoxicillin, Lisinopril, Metformin, Amlodipine Besylate, Hydralazine and other controlled prescription drugs were all left off of the manifest; further complicating the matter was that the exporter did not have the required license to export these controlled items.

“We will take every opportunity to disrupt the illegal trafficking in prescription drugs,” said Houston CBP Port Director Roderick W. Hudson. “This is not a victimless crime because those profiting from the illegal exportation of prescription drugs are not only threatening the U.S. economy but are placing unwitting consumers abroad at risk as well.”

Medications for personal use are allowed to be exported, but there are limitations. Information is available and the permit for exporting controlled substance is available at Drug Enforcement Administration where an online application can be completed.

Medications can also be legally exported for humanitarian assistance, but require the exporter be registered with DEA.

In addition to the seizure of the prescription drugs, CBP initiated a penalty against the exporter for not making a proper declaration.

WASHINGTON— Persistent cross-border drug smuggling by transnational criminal networks is having an unintended consequence as illegal narcotics are washing up on shores and discovered floating off the coasts of Florida.

In a span of 27 days, from Sep. 15 through Oct.12 Border Patrol agents, in conjunction with U.S. Coast Guard, recorded 15 separate drug seizure events where nearly 400 pounds of marijuana were found in different areas near the Florida Keys and the Eastern Florida coastline. The street value of these drugs is $306,400.

“There has been a significant spike in drugs washing up on shore,” said U.S. Border Patrol Miami Sector Division Chief, Todd Bryant. “This is at least partially attributable to improved partnerships across the state but potentially also to a shift in smuggling methods.”

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has seen an increase in these events, recording 95 seizures in Fiscal Year 2016 compared to 49 seizures in Fiscal Year 2015.

Public safety is paramount to CBP, and we want civilians to know proper reporting procedures if they find a package like those pictured.

“If you are out on a boat or on the beach and you see a suspicious package, call local law enforcement immediately. Attempting to keep the suspicious package can place you in danger, as violent criminal networks will attempt to recover their narcotics,” said Bryant.

The Border Patrol encourages the public to report suspicious activity such as drug and alien smuggling by calling toll free 877-772-8146.