AGUADILLA, Puerto Rico — US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Air and Marine Operations (AMO) seized 283 pounds (128.8 kilos) of cocaine on Sunday night after intercepting a “yola” type vessel near the northwestern coast and arresting two men onboard. The estimated value of the cocaine is $3.6 million. Yola vessels are unseaworthy and are regularly destroyed.
“Air and Marine Agents engage in complex coordination to detect and stop vessels that attempt to smuggle narcotics though our coastal areas,” stated Johnny Morales, director of air operations at the CBP Caribbean Air and Marine Branch.
Near midnight, a CBP DHC-8 Maritime Patrol Aircraft crew detected a small 22-foot wooden “yola” vessel with one outboard engine and two persons onboard, approximately northwest of Aguadilla, Puerto Rico, heading eastbound.
A CBP Interceptor from the Mayaguez Marine Unit was deployed, reaching the vessel and ordering the subjects on board to stop, utilizing blue lights and siren, with which they complied. The marine interceptor agents took custody of the two subjects on board and recovered an unknown quantity of contraband.
The two male adults claimed to be Dominican Republic nationals. The contraband tested positive to cocaine and weighed approximately 128.8 kilos. The vessel was destroyed on the high seas due to hazards to navigation and adverse weather inbound to the scene.