Three men in Puerto Rico have been indicted on drug trafficking charges involving what authorities say is more than 1,580 pounds of cocaine worth an estimated $24 million.
U.S. officials said Wednesday that they recently seized the drugs with help from British authorities from a speedboat several hundred miles south of Puerto Rico.
U.S. Attorney Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez said the drugs came from South America and were bound for Puerto Rico. She said the suspects were from Venezuela and the Dominican Republic.
"These arrests and multi-kilogram seizure are a clear indication of the success of the Caribbean Corridor Strike Force Initiative,” said Rodríguez-Vélez. "Along with our domestic and international law enforcement partners, we will continue to bring our resources to bear to ensure that drug traffickers and their associates are brought to justice for the damage they inflict on our communities."
Rear Adm. Jake Korn, commander of the Seventh Coast Guard District, said interdictions have more than tripled in the past year with a total of $690 million worth of seizures.
"Our collective aggressive efforts involving international, federal and local enforcement authorities continue to yield positive results," said Korn. "We stand united in our unwavering commitment to protect the citizens of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands from the threats that come from the sea by interdicting these major drug shipments as far from shore as possible and bringing those responsible to justice."
Since Sept. 2012, the Coast Guard said it has seized 20,500 kilograms of cocaine and 8,500 pounds of marijuana during 22 law enforcement interdictions under Operation Unified Resolve, in partnership with regional law enforcement authorities in the Caribbean.
The wholesale value for these seizures is worth more than $690.3 million, according to the Coast Guard.