The multi-agency Hampton Roads Border Enforcement Security Taskforce (BEST) has seized approximately 35 kilograms of cocaine at the Port of Norfolk in the past two weeks, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced in a recent release.
The various seizures occurred between July 27 and Aug. 4. During the first seizure, law enforcement officials seized 32 kilograms of cocaine off a vessel coming into the Port of Norfolk. Special agents and law enforcement officers had previously discovered cocaine, with an estimated street value of approximately $1 million, hidden in the vessel’s cargo holds.
Agents and officers later seized three kilograms of cocaine off of a container vessel arriving into Hampton Roads. Two individuals were arrested pursuant to the seizures.
“These enforcement actions demonstrate that law enforcement agencies working together under the auspices of the BEST, are positioned to disrupt and dismantle smuggling organizations’ efforts to bring their illicit goods into the United States,” said John Torres, special agent in charge of HSI. “The Hampton Roads BEST is host to Homeland Security Investigations, Customs and Border Protection and the U.S. Coast Guard with other federal, state and local law enforcement partners to bring together the strengths of each agency into one united front.”
The taskforce includes ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the U.S. Coast Guard, as well as other law enforcement partners. The taskforce was formed in July 2011 and team members are responsible for investigating various maritime-related crimes.
“I am very proud of the work of my officers and the BEST,” said Mark Laria, CBP area port director. “This seizure is further evidence of how the law enforcement authorities in Hampton Roads can quickly pull together as a team to protect the citizens of Hampton Roads and the country.”