Border authorities seize boat, thousands of pounds of cocaine in bust off Puerto Rican coast

Drug trafficking is on the rise amid the unprecedented migration surge at the southern border.

Updated: October 26, 2022 - 7:54pm

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U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Air and Marine Operations (AMO) agents on Wednesday intercepted a boat off the coast of Puerto Rico transporting thousands of pounds of cocaine.

Intercepted near Vieques island, authorities apprehended the boat's crew of two and seized 2,646 pounds of cocaine, a quantity with an estimated value of $26.4 million.

"Smuggling attempts into Puerto Rico come from many areas throughout the island," Director of the Caribbean Air and Marine Branch Augusto Reyes said. "AMO agents are committed to use all our capabilities to interdict them throughout our coastal areas."

The bust comes the same day the Department of Justice announced indictments against eleven individuals for their allegedly involvement in drug trafficking operations in Washington and California. Authorities estimated that the operation had moved more than 1,000 pounds of meth and hundreds of thousands of fentanyl pills.

Drug trafficking is on the rise amid the unprecedented migration surge at the southern border, which has presented cartels with an opportunity to slip past the already strained border agents. In fiscal year 2022, CBP seizures of fentanyl set an all-time record with the agency confiscating 14,100 pounds of fentanyl at the Mexican border alone.