Feds seize 165 kilos of cocaine hidden in boat

150 bricks of cocaine, hidden inside a small fiberglass vessel en route to Puerto Rico, were seized by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, September 29, 2011. U.S. Customs and Border Protection

150 bricks of cocaine, hidden inside a small fiberglass vessel en route to Puerto Rico, were seized by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, September 29, 2011.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection

(CBS) MAYAGUEZ, PUERTO RICO -- Federal law enforcement agencies Wednesday said they seized 165 kilos (364 pounds) of cocaine, hidden inside a small fiberglass vessel en route to Puerto Rico, according to a statement from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection. The cocaine was estimated to have a street value of $4.1 million.

PICTURES: Chasing drug smugglers in the Carribbean

Early Wednesday morning, a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) aircraft detected and tracked the single engine vessel with two people on board in the waters between the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico, heading east-southeast with no navigation lights.

Last month, CBS News flew with the CBP team as they patrolled the same waters, searching for drug traffickers.

Drugs, weapons trafficing on the rise in Puerto Rico

The vessel failed to stop when a CBP marine unit and helicopter pursued. The U.S. Coast Guard cutter Resolute eventually stopped the vessel approximately 12 nautical miles north of Mona Island, according to a release from CBP.

An x-ray of the vessel revealed bricks of cocaine hidden inside and a total of 150 bricks of cocaine were retrieved, with an estimated street value of $4,125,000.

Cocaine seizures in Puerto Rico increased 30 percent from 2009 to 2010, according to federal law enforcement data provided to CBS News.

Two citizens of the Dominican Republic were arrested.

Rudy Apolinar Mejías-Santana and Guillermo Jiménez-Jiménez were charged with aiding and abetting the importation of a controlled substance into the United States, conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute a controlled substance, and conspiracy to import a controlled substance into the United States.

The two men have been turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) investigators.

  • Miles Doran

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