2.76 Tons of Cocaine Seized from Sub near Puerto Rico

CBP AMO and U.S. Coast Guard interdict a semi-submersible vessel loaded with 2,500 pounds of cocaine. (Photo: CBP Air and Marine Operations)
Photo: CBP Air and Marine Operations

CBP Air and Marine Operations agents assisted in the interdiction and seizure of nearly three tons of cocaine from a semi-submersible vessel near Puerto Rico. The seizure led to the arrest and indictment of three people for a variety of drug trafficking and maritime law violations.

AMO agents assisted the U.S. Coast Guard in interdicting a semi-submersible vessel sailing toward Puerto Rico on April 8, according to information obtained from U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials. A search of the vessel led to the discovery of 5,515 pounds of cocaine.

The Coast Guard arrested three people from the vessel and confiscated the semi-submersible boat. Officials placed the value of the 2.76 tons of cocaine at approximately $75 million.

A federal grand jury in Puerto Rico returned a four-count indictment against the three individuals arrested during the alleged smuggling attempt. The indictment includes charges against defendants Arturo González-Quiñones, Freiman Yepes-Ospina, and José Álvaro Córdoba-Rentería for conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine, conspiracy to operate and embark in a semi-submersible vessel without nationality, and to navigate thereon into and through waters beyond the outer limit of any country’s territorial sea, with the intent to evade detection, in violation of the Drug Trafficking Vessel Interdiction Act (DTVIA), officials reported.

“The interdiction was the result of multi-agency efforts in support of U.S. Southern Command’s enhanced counter-narcotics operations in the Western Hemisphere, the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) and High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) programs, and the Caribbean Corridor Strike Force (CCSF),” officials said in a written statement.

If convicted, each defendant faces sentences from 10 years to life in prison for the drug trafficking charges and up to 15 years for the DTVIA-related charges.

Bob Price serves as associate editor and senior news contributor for the Breitbart Texas-Border team. He is an original member of the Breitbart Texas team. Price is a regular panelist on Fox 26 Houston’s What’s Your Point? Sunday-morning talk show. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX and Facebook.

Editor’s note: This article initially misstated the weight of the drug shipment as 1.25 tons. The actual weight is 5,515 pounds or 2.76 tons. The article has been updated to reflect the correct tonnage. 

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