ST. THOMAS, Virgin Islands— US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Air and Marine Operations (AMO) agents, along with Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), intercepted Sunday a vessel with four citizens of the British Virgin Islands found transporting 1,470 pounds (667 kilos) of cocaine. The estimated value of the contraband is nearly $20 million.
“Transnational criminal organizations take aim at diverse routes to move their illicit contraband,” indicated Augusto Reyes, Director of the Caribbean Air and Marine Branch. “Our agents will continue to use our advanced aeronautical and maritime capabilities to detect and interdict them throughout our coastal borders.”
During the afternoon, an AMO Multirole Enforcement Aircraft (MEA) crew patrolling the east side of the United States Virgin Islands, detected a twin-engine boat at high speed. Suspected contraband was noticeable on the boat deck.
The MEA crew assisted an AMO St. Thomas Coastal Interceptor Vessel crew and a US Coast Guard Small Boat to stop the 32’ Manta vessel 20 nautical miles east of St. Croix. The four men in the vessel were subsequently arrested for narcotics violations.
This is an HSI St. Croix led investigation with the assistance of CBP AMO St. Thomas, HSI St. Thomas, DEA St. Thomas and DEA St. Croix.
AMO safeguards our Nation by anticipating and confronting security threats through our aviation and maritime law enforcement expertise, innovative capabilities, and partnerships at the border and beyond. With approximately 1,800 federal agents and mission support personnel, 240 aircraft, and 300 marine vessels operating throughout the United States, Puerto Rico, and U.S. Virgin Islands, AMO conducts its mission in the air and maritime environments at and beyond the border, and within the nation’s interior.
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U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the comprehensive management, control, and protection of our nation’s borders, combining customs, immigration, border security, and agricultural protection at and between official ports of entry.