SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico, Tuesday July 14, 2015 – The United States Coast Guard has arrested five smugglers caught with $3.2 million of cocaine in a sinking boat in the Caribbean Sea.
The three Jamaicans and two Guyanese and 215 pounds of cocaine were intercepted on a Guyanese fishing vessel on the afternoon of July 2, but the Coast Guard only made the interdiction public in a statement yesterday.
The five were nabbed while the crew of Coast Guard Cutter Dauntless were on routine patrol. They saw the “suspicious” boat, Chrispoph, approximately 170 miles south of the Dominican Republic.
The Coast Guard then contacted the Guyanese government, which confirmed the Guyanese registry of the Chrispoph and authorized the Coast Guard to stop, board, and search the vessel.
During a preliminary search of the fishing vessel, five bales containing 98 packages of cocaine were found.
The Coast Guard officials also realized that the boat was taking on water because of a broken shaft seal and they transferred the smugglers and the contraband to their vessel. The boat eventually sank.
The men and drugs were subsequently transferred to another Coast Guard vessel to be transported to San Juan, Puerto Rico, where they were taken into custody by special agents from the Caribbean Corridor Strike Force over the weekend.
“This is a great way to start our counter-drug patrol here in the Caribbean,” said Commander Charles Kuebler, Dauntless’ commanding officer.
“We are glad these drugs will not reach our streets and we hope this interdiction will help investigatory agencies dismantle the transnational organized crime networks that threaten the security and prosperity of the US and our Caribbean neighbors.”
The interdiction was a multi-agency law enforcement effort in support of Operation Unified Resolve, Operation Caribbean Guard and the Caribbean Corridor Strike Force.