US$29 million in cocaine found on St Vincent flagged vessel in Caribbean Sea

atlantic-vii-740

Coast Guard and federal law enforcement agencies interdicted the 267-foot St. Vincent and Grenadines flag coastal freighter Atlantic VII, a small boat delivery vessel transporting a $29 million dollar cocaine shipment and apprehended 13 smugglers off the northern coast of Puerto Rico Feb. 3, 2015. Federal law enforcement authorities involved in the interdiction were working in support of the Caribbean Border Interagency Group’s (CBIG) Operation Caribbean Guard and the Caribbean Corridor Strike Force. (U.S. Coast Guard photo)

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico, Wednesday February 11, 2015, CMC – The United States law enforcement authorities say they have seized 989 kilogrammes of cocaine on a vessel carrying a St. Vincent and the Grenadines flag in the Caribbean Sea.

The US Coast Guard said it had collaborated the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency and US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in the exercise that also netted 13 men after detaining a delivery vessel and coastal freighter, about eight miles off the coast of Puerto Rico.

Two Venezuelan nationals were charged “with conspiracy to import the aforementioned cocaine shipment,” the Coast Guard said, adding that the cocaine has an estimated street value of US$29 million.

It said that the other suspects detained on the 267-foot St. Vincent and Grenadines flag coastal freighter Atlantic VII were from the Dominican Republic, Cuba, Peru, panama and Ecuador. They were also charged with conspiracy to import a controlled substance into the United States.

drug-haul

A $29 million dollar cocaine shipment, weighing approximately 989 kilograms (2,176 pounds) is offloaded at Coast Guard Sector San Juan following a multiagency at-sea drug interdiction involving a small boat delivery vessel, the 267-foot St. Vincent and Grenadines flag coastal freighter Atlantic VII and 13 suspected smugglers off the northern coast of Puerto Rico Feb. 3, 2015. Federal law enforcement authorities involved in the interdiction were working in support of the Caribbean Border Interagency Group’s (CBIG) Operation Caribbean Guard and the Caribbean Corridor Strike Force. (U.S. Coast Guard photo)

 

The cocaine shipment, the detained smugglers, and the delivery vessel were transported to Coast Guard Sector San Juan, and transferred to ICE agents for further investigation, the Coast Guard said.

“Once again the combined efforts of federal law enforcement agencies resulted in the seizure of millions of dollars’ worth of narcotics. Our message continues to be the same: we will detect and interdict drug smugglers attempting to flood our island with their poisonous cargo,” said Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez, US Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico.

“These arrests are a clear indication of the continued success of the Caribbean Corridor Strike Force,” she added.

Click here to receive free news bulletins via email from Caribbean360. (View sample)