$11 Million in Cocaine Seized From Vessel Off West Coast of Puerto Rico

U.S. Coast Guard personnel, working with their partners in the Caribbean Border Interagency Group  Puerto Rico, under the Caribbean Corridor Initiative, conducted a drug interdiction Tuesday, June 10, off the west coast of Puerto Rico, arresting a purported drug smuggler and seizing approximately 1,248 pounds of cocaine and less than a pound of marijuana, with a street value of approximately $11 million.

The crew of a U.S. Customs and Border Protection aircraft detected a suspicious vessel June 10 at approximately 8:30 a.m. traveling towards the west coast of Puerto Rico.

The crew of the Customs and Border Protection aircraft contacted the Coast Guard Cutter Key Largo which diverted and intercepted the vessel. This vessel was being operated by Carlos González Méndez, who was the sole occupant inside.

Upon boarding the vessel, the crew of the Key Largo proceeded to conduct a safety inspection. As a result of the inspection, the boarding team observed square brick-like packages in several ice coolers located on the vessel.

The bricks were field tested and yielded positive to cocaine. The vessel was transported into the Port of Mayagüez, Puerto Rico, where a further search conducted by the crew of the Key Largo alongside Customs and Border Protection officers and Immigrations and Customs

Enforcement agents, revealed that the vessel contained approximately 1,248 pounds of cocaine.

Carlos González Méndez was placed under arrest and transferred to the Metropolitan Detention Center.  This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Elba Gorbea and Carlos R. Cardona.