SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico, Monday September 5, 2016 – 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 US 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 late last month, to US 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 Coast Guard said.
“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 on August 24, the crew of a maritime patrol aircraft detected a suspicious go-fast vessel with four people and possible contraband on board. The go-fast was detected approximately 44 nautical miles northeast of Blanquilla, Venezuela.
In total, 525 packages of marijuana weighing approximately 2,074 pounds were seized and the Jamaicans and Antiguan taken into custody.
In a second case a day later, the crew of a US Customs and Border Protection’s Air and Marine Operations maritime patrol aircraft detected three men aboard a 25-foot go-fast vessel carrying a load of suspected contraband, approximately 93 nautical miles north of San Juan, Puerto Rico. The US Coast Guard found 48 bales of cocaine and took the nationals of the Dominican Republic into custody.
The seized contraband was estimated to have a wholesale value of US$33.9 million.