Caribbean Corridor Strike Force Arrests Two Men and Seizes
JUL 21 - SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – Caribbean Corridor Strike Force (CCSF) Special Agents arrested two men yesterday for failure to report approximately $1.7 million in cash that was being transported to the Dominican Republic, announced U.S. Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico, Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Caribbean Air and Marine Branch (CAMB) patrol aircraft and marine enforcement units spotted and intercepted a suspect vessel, identified as “Natalia,” traveling in international waters near Desecheo Island, P.R.
Due to weather conditions, the vessel “Natalia” and its crew, along with a second boat, also intercepted by CAMB officers, were escorted to Boquerón, P.R., for a customs inspection. Juan Quiñones-Rosario, a 46-year old Sergeant of the Puerto Rico Police Department, and Raul Bosques-Caro, 40, owner of Don Raul Restaurant in Aguada, P.R., were inside the 27-foot vessel “Natalia.”
The inspection of the vessel “Natalia” revealed approximately $1.7 million hidden in compartments throughout the vessel. Neither Quiñones-Rosario nor Bosques-Caro reported the transportation of these monies to the Dominican Republic. After passing the inspection, the second boat was released.
CCSF Special Agents took Quiñones-Rosario and Bosques-Caro into custody and seized the approximate $1.7 million. A complaint was filed today and the defendants were taken to the initial appearance before Magistrate Judge Justo Arenas.
“This is the second multi-million dollar seizure, in less than one month, that Caribbean Corridor Strike Force has successfully interdicted”, said U.S. Attorney Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez. “We will continue maximizing all of our combined resources to investigate and prosecute those who in flagrant disregard of our laws and way of life try to smuggle or transport illegal contraband in our area of jurisdiction.”
The Caribbean Corridor Strike Force (CCSF) investigates South American-based drug trafficking organizations responsible for the movement of multi-kilogram quantities of narcotics utilizing the Caribbean as a transshipment point for further distribution to the United States. The initiative is composed the U.S. Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the U.S. Coast Guard.
“ICE will continue using all its resources to investigate the failure to report the transportation of monies,”said Roberto Escobar-Vargas, acting special agent in charge of ICE’s office of investigations in Puerto Rico. “These seizures demonstrate what can be accomplished when law enforcement agencies work together with vigilance and a commitment to enforce our nation’s customs laws.
“DEA is a key member of the CCSF initiative. The CCSF is the best mechanism to attack drug trafficking and currency smuggling in the Caribbean," said DEA Special Agent in Charge Javier F. Peña.
José Figueroa Sancha, PRPD Superintendent affirmed that, “We will not tolerate any type of corruption in the Puerto Rico Police Department; no one is above the law.” Figueroa Sancha further asserted that: “There is no room in the PRPD for individuals who are involved in the acts described above, and who dishonor our uniform and call themselves Police officers.”
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Sean Torriente and Carlos R. Cardona.
Criminal complaints are only charges and not evidence of guilt. A defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty.