Seven Caribbean Drug Smug­glers nabbed by US Coast Guard

The Star (St. Lucia) - - REGIONAL -

Charges are be­ing filed against seven peo­ple from the Caribbean who were taken into cus­tody along with al­most US$34 mil­lion in ganja and co­caine late last month.

Over the week­end, the U.S. Coast Guard trans­ferred the 2,367 pounds of co­caine and 2,074 pounds of mar­i­juana net­ted in two separate oper­a­tions, and handed over the three Ja­maicans, one An­tiguan, and three Do­mini­can Repub­lic na­tion­als who were ap­pre­hended in the drug smug­gling at­tempts in the Caribbean Sea and the At­lantic Ocean, to U.S. Cus­toms and Bor­der Pro­tec­tion, Im­mi­gra­tion and Cus­toms En­force­ment- Home­land Se­cu­rity In­ves­ti­ga­tions and the Drug En­force­ment Ad­min­is­tra­tion.

The dis­rup­tions and seizures of these drug ship­ments were the re­sult of on­go­ing multi-agency law en­force­ment ef­forts in sup­port of Op­er­a­tion Uni­fied Re­solve, Op­er­a­tion Caribbean Guard and the Caribbean Cor­ri­dor Strike Force (CCSF) Ini­tia­tive.

“The new Fast Re­sponse Cut­ters are de­liv­er­ing ex­cep­tional pos­i­tive re­sults by al­low­ing us to ef­fec­tively in­ter­dict drug smug­gling ves­sels deeper into the Caribbean,” said Cap­tain Robert War­ren, Coast Guard Sec­tor San Juan com­man­der.

“The strong co­op­er­a­tion and part­ner­ships be­tween our in­ter­na­tional, fed­eral and lo­cal law en­force­ment part­ners in the Caribbean are vi­tal to the re­gion’s se­cu­rity, as our col­lec­tive ef­forts seek to pre­vent these drug ship­ments from reach­ing our shores and bring those re­spon­si­ble to jus­tice. It’s a team ef­fort, and it’s mak­ing a dif­fer­ence.”

In the first case the crew of a mar­itime pa­trol air­craft de­tected a sus­pi­cious go-fast ves­sel with four peo­ple and pos­si­ble con­tra­band on board, ap­prox­i­mately 44 nau­ti­cal miles north­east of Blan­quilla, Venezuela.

In the sec­ond case the crew of a US Cus­toms and Bor­der Pro­tec­tion’s Air and Marine Oper­a­tions mar­itime pa­trol air­craft de­tected three men aboard a 25-foot go­fast ves­sel car­ry­ing a load of sus­pected con­tra­band, ap­prox­i­mately 93 nau­ti­cal miles north of San Juan, Puerto Rico.

The to­tal seized con­tra­band was es­ti­mated to have a whole­sale value of US$33.9 mil­lion.

Mil­lions of dol­lars worth of drugs were seized in the oper­a­tions.

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