SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico, Friday February 5, 2016 – Coast Guard and British Virgin Islands law enforcement have seized 52 pounds of cocaine, and detained two men, during an at-sea interdiction near Tortola, British Virgin Islands.
The seized cocaine shipment was estimated to have a wholesale value of more than $797,500.
The operation on Tuesday was a result of an ongoing joint multi-agency law enforcement effort to detect and deter illegal narcotics flow in the Caribbean.
While on a joint patrol, members of a Coast Guard Maritime Safety and Security Team (MSST) team accompanied by a Customs officer detected and interdicted a suspicious vessel near Tortola close to midnight.
They found a total of 24 bricks of cocaine on board the 32-foot recreational vessel. British Virgin Islands authorities took the suspects into custody, seized the vessel and contraband, and referred the matter for prosecution.
“The strong working relationship between the U.S. Coast Guard and British Virgin Islands law enforcement led to a successful interdiction and seizure of illicit contraband,” stated Captain Robert Warren, Sector San Juan Commander.
“The coordinated efforts for last night’s interdiction furthered our collective resolve to stem the flow of illicit smuggling operations between our nations.”
A Coast Guard MSST is a specialized force trained, equipped, and frequently employed to conduct operations locally, support maritime security missions worldwide, and rapidly deploy in response to emergent threats or the needs of the country.