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US Coast Guard offloads $5.6 million in seized cocaine, transfers custody of 3 suspected smugglers in San Juan, Puerto Rico

The crew of the Coast Guard Donald Horsley (WPC-1117) offloaded approximately 150 kilograms of seized cocaine and transferred custody of three suspected smugglers to federal law enforcement authorities, Saturday, at Sector San Juan.

The seized drug shipment is estimated to have a wholesale value of more than $ 5.6 million. The three men apprehended remain in U.S. custody facing criminal charges for drug smuggling.

The interdiction was the result of ongoing efforts in support of Operation Unified Resolve, the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) program and the Caribbean Corridor Strike Force (CCSF). Prosecution is being led by the United States Attorney’s Office, District of Puerto Rico.

“COVID-19 has presented us with tremendous operational and personal challenges over these past few months and yet the great women and men of the United States Coast Guard continue to do an outstanding job safeguarding this great nation,” said Lt. Joel Wyman, cutter Winslow Griesser commanding officer. “I’m proud of my crew for demonstrating this during our most recent counter drug interdiction, resulting in the seizure of 150kgs of cocaine. This goes to show no matter how big the storm is in front of us, we will continue to prevail.” 

The interdiction and seizure occurred during a patrol the night of June 8, 2020, where the crew of a Customs and Border Protection maritime patrol aircraft detected a suspect go-fast vessel with three people aboard, approximately 50 nautical miles southwest of Isla Saona, Dominican Republic.  Coast Guard watchstanders at Sector San Juan directed the launch of a Coast Guard HC-144 Ocean Sentry aircraft to acquire the location of the go-fast and diverted the cutter Coast Guard Cutter Winslow Griesser carry out the interdiction

Once on scene, the Winslow Griesser Over the Horizon cutter boat stopped the go-fast and recovered three bales from the water near the go-fast. The recovered bales tested positive for cocaine and weighed approximately 150kgs.

The detainees and seized contraband were transferred to the cutter Donald Horsley for transport to Sector San Juan.  Cutter Donald Horsley’s crew offloaded the contraband and disembarked the suspected smugglers in coordination with Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)-HSI, DEA and CCSF special agents in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

 The CCSF is a multi-agency OCDETF strike force comprised of federal and state law enforcement agencies, including the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Federal Bureau of Investigation, United States Coast Guard, U.S. Marshals Service, Internal Revenue Service, and the Puerto Rico Department of Public Safety.

Cutters Winslow Griesser and Donald Horsley are 154-foot fast response cutters homeported in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

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