SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (CBS/AP) Federal agents have arrested a suburban body shop owner accused of helping run one of the largest drug smuggling organizations in the Caribbean.
Jorge Luis Figueroa Agosto was arrested Monday while vacationing with is wife, two children, and in-laws aboard the Caribbean Princess cruise ship.
Agents waiting on board the ship arrested him without incident before the ship reached its first port-of-call in the U.S. Virgin Islands, said John Morton, director of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
During the operation, authorities simultaneously arrested 11 out of the 17 alleged members being sought in connection with the successful drug ring.
Morton said it was a major blow to "one of the biggest" drug trafficking organizations. Morton said the organization uses luxury boats to transport large amounts of South American cocaine from the Dominican Republic to Puerto Rico, where other groups sold it locally or shipped it on to the U.S. mainland through airport couriers and shipping containers.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents had been tracking Jorge Luis Figueroa Agosto along with the other alleged members as part of an investigation into the organization allegedly led by his older brother, Jose Figueroa Agosto, who has been dubbed the "Pablo Escobar of the Caribbean."
After escaping prison in Puerto Rico, the older brother, Jose Figueroa Agosto, 45, was the most wanted man in the Dominican Republic for a decade, but was captured in July in Puerto Rico after an intensive manhunt.
His younger brother was not as well known and lived an apparently law-abiding existence with no known criminal offenses, but authorities said he and his brother were at the top of the organization.
The other members charged along with him are accused of a variety of roles in the organization, including shipping drugs and laundering profits through real estate and other business deals.