USD 16.5 mn worth of cocaine seized near Puerto Rico
San Juan: US federal authorities announced on Wednesday that they seized 660 kilograms of cocaine on a speedboat near Puerto Rico in one of the island's largest drug busts this year.
The drugs are worth an estimated USD 16.5 million, said Angel Melendez, interim director of the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement office in Puerto Rico.
He said the cocaine likely came from Venezuela or Colombia, and that the majority of it was destined for the US mainland.
Two suspects, Alexander Urrutia of Puerto Rico and Dioni Rijo of the Dominican Republic, were arrested and face federal drug smuggling charges.
Agents with US Customs and Border Protection say they located the two men aboard a 9-meter speedboat about 90 kilometers south of Puerto Rico during an air patrol late on Monday.
Melendez said cocaine smuggling has increased along Puerto Rico's south-southwest coasts, with agents seizing about 3,630 kilograms in the last three months.
He said ICE and CBP agents have seized a total of 8,618 kilograms of cocaine in the last fiscal year, which ended Sept. 30, an increase of 2,722 kilograms from the previous fiscal year.