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2 charged with smuggling cocaine off Puerto Rico

March 18, 2014

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — Federal authorities say two Puerto Rican men have been charged with conspiracy to import 242 kilograms (533 pounds) of cocaine into the U.S. Caribbean territory.

The U.S. attorney’s office said in a Tuesday statement that the suspects were apprehended on a go-fast boat off the southeast coast of Vieques, an outlying island off Puerto Rico’s east coast.

The crew of a U.S. Coast Guard vessel alleged that seven bales of cocaine were in “plain sight” on the speedboat, which was traveling off Vieques without any navigation lights early Sunday.

The two suspects have been identified as Estevan DeCarlos and Raddif Tapia Rivera. It was not immediately clear if the two men had lawyers.

If convicted of conspiracy to import cocaine, they could face a maximum penalty of life in prison.

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