U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), working jointly with other members of the Caribbean Corridor Strike Force (CCSF), arrested two Dominican Republic nationals for drug trafficking and seized 2,600 pounds of cocaine with an estimated street value of more than $29 million Wednesday, January 2, 2013, off the eastern coast of Puerto Rico.
“In less than one week HSI and its partners in the Caribbean Corridor Strike Force have seized more than 2,800 pounds of cocaine,” said Angel Melendez, acting special agent in charge of HSI San Juan. “These seizures and related arrests are clear proof that HSI, along with our state and federal partners, is vigilant and will not tolerate the importation of illegal drugs into the United States through Puerto Rico.”
Earlier the week ending in Friday, January 4, 2013, a U.S. Coast Guard cutter intercepted a private vessel 43 nautical miles off of the island of Vieques, Puerto Rico, occupied by two Dominican Republic nationals and carrying 40 bales with approximately 2,600 pounds of cocaine. According to the criminal complaint, Jose De Leon and Wilson Concepción, both 40, knowingly and intentionally conspired to possess with the intent to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine on board a vessel subject to the jurisdiction of the United States. The District of Puerto Rico was the first point where the defendants entered the United States after the commission of the offense.
De Leon and Concepción were transferred to the Guaynabo Metropolitan Detention Center in Puerto Rico awaiting the outcome of their case.
CCSF is an initiative of the U.S. Attorney’s Office created to disrupt and dismantle major drug trafficking organizations operating in the Caribbean. CCSF is part of the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area, and Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force that investigates South American-based drug trafficking organizations responsible for the movement of multi-kilogram quantities of narcotics using the Caribbean as a transshipment point for further distribution to the United States. The initiative is composed of HSI, the U.S. Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the FBI, the Coast Guard, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Puerto Rico Police Department’s United Forces for Rapid Action.
ICE encourages the public to report suspected weapons and narcotics smuggling and related information by calling at 1-866-DHS-2ICE.