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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

4 arrested in joint cocaine bust at sea

By The Star Staff

The crew of the Coast Guard cutter Winslow Griesser and Caribbean Corridor Strike Force agents unloaded 721 pounds (327 kilograms) of cocaine worth $6.5 million in San Juan following the interdiction of a smuggling ship in the Mona Passage.

“I couldn’t be more proud of the Winslow Griesser’s crew, especially our small boat crew, whose skill and professionalism were instrumental in stopping this fast drug smuggling ship,” said Lt. Cmdr. Mark Tatara, commanding officer of the cutter Winslow Griesser, in a written statement Thursday.

The four men arrested in the case claimed to be citizens of the Dominican Republic and now face federal prosecution in Puerto Rico for conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute a controlled substance aboard a vessel subject to U.S. jurisdiction.

The charge carries a minimum penalty of 10 years and a maximum penalty of life in prison.

An additional charge includes assaulting federal officers with a deadly weapon, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

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