Drug Agents Seize Cocaine Valued at $7.7 Million
Mar. 31, 1996
HOUSTON (AP) _ Federal agents seized 170 pounds of cocaine, worth an estimated $7.7 million, after it was tossed early Saturday from a Colombian freighter, the U.S. Customs Service said.
Two men were arrested after agents intercepted the delivery before daybreak at the Houston Ship Channel, said Roger Maier, a customs spokesman.
Milton Estupinan Aspiralla, 25, a Colombian national, was arrested after getting out of the water with the 66 bricks of cocaine, Maier said.
Authorities identified the other suspect as Mesach Cardona-Juarbe, 28, also a Colombian resident. Authorities say he was waiting in a car.
Both men were jailed pending a hearing Monday. They face charges of conspiracy and illegal importation of a controlled substances, Maier said.
The Colombian-flagged freighter, the Rio Turando, was docked at the time of the interception. Maier did not say who owned the freighter.
Police and Coast Guard agents assisted with the seizure, which resulted from an investigation that began in Columbia, Maier said.