38 Bales of Cocaine Intercepted Near Puerto Rico

Around midnight on Monday, March 3, 2014, a United States Coast Guard Maritime Patrol Aircraft coordinated with a U.S. Customs and Border Protection Office of Air and Marine Maritime Patrol Aircraft to conduct surveillance on a 40ft center console vessel traveling without navigation lights near the southern coast of Puerto Rico.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection Ponce Marine Units responded to intercept the vessel and further investigate the matter.

Once stopped, the two vessel occupants were identified as Gregorio Rodriguez and Englis Perez. Both men claimed to be citizens of the Dominican Republic. Further search of the vessel uncovered 38 bales of cocaine, weighing a total of 2,432 pounds. The estimated street value of this find is $27.5 million.

Rodriguez and Perez were taken into custody and handed over to Special Agents of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations. They have been charged with conspiracy to import controlled substances, an offense punishable from 10 years to life in prison. The cocaine and the 40ft vessel were seized.

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