800 Pounds of Cocaine, 55 Pounds of Heroin, And 1 Automatic Weapon
FEB 10 -- SAN JUAN, P.R. – Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez, United States Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico, Captain James Tunstall, Commander, U.S. Coast Guard (USCG), Sector San Juan; Manuel Oyola Torres, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Jerome M. Harris, Special Agent in Charge, Caribbean Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Luis S. Fraticelli, Special Agent in Charge, San Juan Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and Marcelino Borges, Director, Field Office, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), announced today the seizure of approximately 800 pounds of cocaine, 55 pounds of brown heroin, and one MAC-10 automatic machine gun, with silencer, on board the Bolivian-flagged vessel M/V Osiris II.
The seizure was part of the Caribbean Corridor Initiative, an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Strike Force consisting of representative from USCG, ICE, DEA, CBP, FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
The M/V Osiris II, a 130-foot cargo vessel, was intercepted by the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Tahoma, approximately 228 nautical miles southeast of the Dominican Republic. The Osiris II showed signs of distress thus raising the interest of law enforcement organizations operating as part of the Caribbean Corridor Initiative.
After successful coordination between the crew of USCG Cutter Tahoma, Caribbean Corridor participating agencies, and the government of Bolivia, USCG personnel boarded the Osiris II.
An inspection of the vessel by USCG revealed approximately 800 pounds of cocaine, 55 pounds of brown heroine, and a MAC-10 machine gun with silencer, hidden in the forward bulkhead of the cargo ship.
The 8-members crew of the Osiris II were detained and the ship was escorted to the USCG Base in San Juan by the USCG Cutter Tahoma. The following crew members are now in federal custody pending charges.
1. Eusebio Estupinan, 61
“These arrests and the seizure are a clear indication of the success of the Caribbean Corridor Initiative,” said Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez, U.S. Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico. “We will continue using all of our combined resources to prosecute those who in flagrant disregard of our laws and way of life try to smuggle illegal drugs and weapons into our area of responsibility.”
“U.S. Coast Guard has a proud and successful history of intercepting contraband in the Caribbean. With the aggressive work of ICE, DEA, FBI, CBP, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the Caribbean Corridor Initiative, our collective resources are maximized as we continue our combined aggressive efforts to keep drugs off the streets.” said Captain James Tunstall, Commander, USCG, Sector San Juan.
The public is reminded that criminal charges are not evidence of guilt. The defendants are presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial. The U.S. government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Timothy R. Henwood.