Tuesday, July 20, 2004

PR: More than a bottle

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) - Authorities seized a large cocaine shipment on an inflatable dinghy off Puerto Rico's southwestern coast and detained 11 people, officials said Tuesday.

A U.S. Customs maritime unit intercepted the dinghy about 10 miles (16 kilometers) southwest of the island early Monday, said Ivan Ortiz, a Customs spokesman. Authorities detained two Dominicans aboard the dinghy and seized 270 kilograms (595 pounds) of cocaine, he said.

Customs agents detained another three people on shore - two Dominicans and a Cuban - who were waiting for the shipment, Ortiz said. Six Dominicans were detained aboard an 80-foot (24-meter) fishing boat that was thought to have carried the cocaine before it was transferred to the dinghy, he said.

The 11 men were being held at a federal jail outside San Juan awaiting to be formally charged, authorities said.

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