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$3.7 million seized by border patrol after it’s found in abandoned boat near Puerto Rico

U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agents, along with agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), seized $3.7 million in undeclared currency found inside five duffle bags on board an abandoned vessel near the coast of Fajardo on July 7, 2019. (U.S. Customs and Border Protection/Released)

U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents, with the help of agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration, seized $3.7 million in currency from an abandoned boat near Puerto Rico Sunday, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

The seizure came after agents spotted a boat without lights heading from Puerto Rico to the U.S. Virgin Islands July 7.

The agents called for backup to help them keep an eye on the vessel.

“We remain committed to working with other federal and local law enforcement partners to detect and deter smuggling attempts throughout the Caribbean,” Johnny Morales, director of the Air and Marine operations for the Caribbean Air and Marine Branch, said in a news release.

When the boat abruptly turned around, agents pursued. The occupants bailed from the boat near the coast of Fajardo and left their cargo —including five duffle bags — behind, the border protection agency said.

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Inside the bags was $3.7 million in undeclared currency. The cash was seized under “bulk cash smuggling laws,” the agency said.

Agents also found a loaded Taurus .40 caliber pistol and 63 rounds of ammunition.

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© 2019 Miami Herald

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.