SAN JUAN – U.S. authorities in Puerto Rico announced Wednesday the largest onshore seizure of illegal drugs in the history of the island: 1,786 kilos (3,933 lbs.) of cocaine.
“We have made large seizures at sea, but never on land,” Ricardo Mayoral, acting special agent in charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, told a press conference.
He estimated the street value of the drugs at $45 million.
Seven men, all Dominican nationals, were arrested in connection with the case.
Four of the suspects were detained in Puerto Rico, while the other three are in custody in the Dominican Republic pending extradition.
All but one of the men were indicted three years ago by a U.S. federal grand jury in Puerto Rico on drug-trafficking charges.
The cocaine was found in a van parked at the residence of one of the suspects in a housing project on the outskirts of San Juan. Authorities discovered guns, ammunition, and $30,000 cash inside the home.
The record bust shows that traffickers continue “using Puerto Rico as a bridge to the United States,” Drug Enforcement Administration official Israel Alicea said at the press conference in San Juan.