Daily Observer (Jamaica)

US off­loads drugs seized in Caribbean Sea, nabs sus­pected smug­glers

- Crime · Disasters · San Juan · Puerto Rico · Rico · United States Coast Guard · United States of America · Miami · United States Southern Command · United States Navy · Jones · Netherlands · United Kingdom · Dominican Republic · U.S. Customs and Border Protection · United States Customs Service · Department of Homeland Security · Homeland · FBI · Federal Bureau of Investigation · U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration · U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement · United Airlines · United States District Court for the District of Puerto Rico · Royal · Groningen · Royal Netherlands Navy · California Bureau of Investigation

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (CMC) — The United States Coast Guard on Satur­day re­ported that the crew of the Coast Guard Cut­ter Herib­erto Her­nan­dez off­loaded ap­prox­i­mately 1,981 kilo­grammes of co­caine and 28 kilo­grammes of am­phet­a­mines here fol­low­ing two sep­a­rate in­ter­dic­tions in the Caribbean Sea.

The US Coast Guard also said that six sus­pected smug­glers were in­ter­dicted in the oper­a­tions.

The seized il­le­gal nar­cotics have a whole­sale value of more than US$48 mil­lion.

In its re­port, the coast guard said the in­ter­dic­tions are the re­sult of multi-agency and in­ter­na­tional part­ner­ship ef­forts in sup­port of the Mi­ami-based US South­ern Com­mand’s en­hanced counter-nar­cotics oper­a­tions in the Western Hemi­sphere, the Or­ga­nized Crime Drug En­force­ment Task Force (OCDETF) pro­gramme and the Caribbean Cor­ri­dor Strike Force (CCSF).

Ac­cord­ing to the US Coast Guard said the At­tor­ney’s Of­fice for the District of Puerto Rico is lead­ing the pros­e­cu­tion for the two cases.

“The coast guard is uniquely equipped to sup­port the US Navy and part­ner na­tion navies and coast guards in the in­ter­dic­tion of il­licit drugs,” said Rear Ad­mi­ral Eric C Jones, the com­man­der of the Sev­enth Coast Guard District.

“Our re­la­tion­ships with na­tions across the Caribbean basin, along with our law en­force­ment au­thor­i­ties, en­able us to pro­vide es­sen­tial sup­port to the mis­sion against in­ter­na­tional crim­i­nal net­works at­tempt­ing to smug­gle peo­ple and drugs into the US,” he added. “We strive to con­tinue build­ing these re­la­tion­ships, fur­ther en­abling our es­sen­tial mis­sions that safe­guard the Amer­i­can peo­ple and our na­tion’s vi­tal mar­itime com­merce.”

W Stephen Muldrow, US at­tor­ney for the District of Puerto Rico, said: “We con­tinue to work with fed­eral and state law en­force­ment agen­cies, along with our part­ners from the Royal Nether­lands and United King­dom navies, against drug traf­fick­ers in our area.

“These seizures mark two more suc­cess­ful oper­a­tions in our fight against crim­i­nal or­gan­i­sa­tions at­tempt­ing to use our ter­ri­to­ries as a hub for their il­le­gal oper­a­tions,” he added.

The US Coast Guard said the most re­cent in­ter­dic­tion oc­curred on Septem­ber 28, when dur­ing a rou­tine pa­trol of the RFA Ar­gus, a Royal Fleet Aux­il­iary ship from the United King­dom, the ship’s he­li­copter crew ob­served a sus­pect go-fast ves­sel with mul­ti­ple pack­ages and barrels of fuel on­board, the US Coast Guard said.

It said the HNLMS Gronin­gen, a Hol­land-class off­shore pa­trol ves­sel from the Royal Nether­lands Navy that was op­er­at­ing nearby with a Coast Guard Law En­force­ment De­tach­ment on­board, re­sponded and in­ter­dicted the go-fast with the as­sis­tance of the ship’s sur­face as­set.

The US Coast Guard said the crew of the HNLMS Gronin­gen “em­barked three smug­glers” – a Colom­bian, a Venezue­lan and a Do­mini­can Re­pub­lic na­tional from the go-fast.

The crew also lo­cated and re­cov­ered aboard the go-fast 49 bales that weighed 1,721 kilo­grammes and tested pos­i­tive for co­caine, and one pack­age that weighed 28 kilo­grammes and tested pos­i­tive for am­phet­a­mines.

The coast Guard said the sec­ond in­ter­dic­tion oc­curred Septem­ber 24, af­ter the air­crew of a US Cus­toms and Bor­der Pro­tec­tion mar­itime pa­trol air­craft de­tected a sus­pi­cious 35-foot go-fast ves­sel tran­sit­ing with­out the use of nav­i­ga­tional lights.

Coast guard watch­standers in Sec­tor San Juan then di­rected the launch of a Coast Guard Air Sta­tion Mi­ami HC-144 Ocean Sen­try air­craft that re­lieved the first air­craft and main­tained aerial cov­er­age of the go-fast.

The cut­ter Herib­erto Her­nan­dez re­sponded to the sight­ing and in­ter­dicted the go-fast with the as­sis­tance of the cut­ter’s small boat and the Coast Guard air­crew, the US Coast Guard said.

“The coast guard board­ing team em­barked the three men, who claimed to be Do­mini­can Re­pub­lic na­tion­als, along with 13 bales of sus­pected con­tra­band that were lo­cated un­der a blue tarp aboard the go-fast,” the state­ment said.

It said the seized con­tra­band tested pos­i­tive for co­caine and weighed 260 kilo­grammes.

The US Coast Guard said the cut­ter Herib­erto Her­nan­dez trans­ported the seized con­traafrom both cases to Sec­tor San Juan, “where await­ing fed­eral law en­force­ment agen­cies re­ceived cus­tody.”

The US Coast Guard said that, on April 1, US South­ern Com­mand be­gan en­hanced counter-nar­cotics oper­a­tions in the Western Hemi­sphere to dis­rupt the flow of drugs in sup­port of Pres­i­den­tial Na­tional Se­cu­rity Ob­jec­tives.

Nu­mer­ous US agen­cies from the De­part­ments of De­fense, Jus­tice and Home­land Se­cu­rity co­op­er­ated in the ef­fort to com­bat transna­tional or­gan­ised crime.

It said that it, along with the US Navy, US Cus­toms and Bor­der Pro­tec­tion, US Fed­eral Bureau of In­ves­ti­ga­tion, US Drug En­force­ment Ad­min­is­tra­tion, and US Im­mi­gra­tion and Cus­toms En­force­ment, with al­lied and in­ter­na­tional part­ner agen­cies, “play a role in counter-drug oper­a­tions”.

“The fight against drug car­tels in the Caribbean Sea re­quires unity of ef­fort in all phases from de­tec­tion, mon­i­tor­ing and in­ter­dic­tions, to crim­i­nal pros­e­cu­tions by in­ter­na­tional part­ners and US At­tor­neys Of­fices in dis­tricts across the na­tion,” the US Coast Guard said.

It said the law en­force­ment phase of counter-smug­gling oper­a­tions in the Caribbean Sea is con­ducted un­der the au­thor­ity of the Coast Guard 7th District, head­quar­tered in Mi­ami.

The in­ter­dic­tions, in­clud­ing the ac­tual board­ings, are led and con­ducted by mem­bers of the US Coast Guard.

The US Coast Guard said the Caribbean Cor­ri­dor Strike Force (CCSF) is a multi-agency Or­ga­nized Crime Drug En­force­ment Task Force group op­er­at­ing in the District of Puerto Rico, “fo­cus­ing on Caribbean and South Amer­i­can­based Transna­tional Crim­i­nal Or­ga­ni­za­tions in­volved in the mar­itime and air smug­gling of ship­ments of nar­cotics to and from Puerto Rico and to the Con­ti­nen­tal US and in the laun­der­ing of drug pro­ceeds us­ing bulk cash smug­gling and so­phis­ti­cated laun­der­ing ac­tiv­i­ties.”

 ?? (CMC) ?? The crew of the US Coast Guard Cut­ter Herib­erto Her­nan­dez (WPC1114) off­loaded 62 bales of co­caine weigh­ing 1,981 kilo­grammes and one 28-kilo­gramme bale of am­phet­a­mines at Sec­tor San Juan Oct. 2, 2020, fol­low­ing two sep­a­rate in­ter­dic­tions of smug­gling go­fast ves­sels in the Caribbean Sea.
(CMC) The crew of the US Coast Guard Cut­ter Herib­erto Her­nan­dez (WPC1114) off­loaded 62 bales of co­caine weigh­ing 1,981 kilo­grammes and one 28-kilo­gramme bale of am­phet­a­mines at Sec­tor San Juan Oct. 2, 2020, fol­low­ing two sep­a­rate in­ter­dic­tions of smug­gling go­fast ves­sels in the Caribbean Sea.

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