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Air and sea operation makes $2.5M drug bust in Bahamas

drugNASSAU, Bahamas--A joint task force from Operation Bahamas, Turks and Caicos OPBAT seized 2,842 pounds of marijuana with an estimated wholesale value of over US $2.5 million during three separate law enforcement operations in the Bahamas this past weekend.

The OPBAT task force was comprised of officers from the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), US Coast Guard, US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Office of Air and Marine (OAM) and the Bahamas Drug Enforcement Unit (DEU), a division of the Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF).

Over three separate nights, OAM aircrew observed suspicious go-fast vessels transiting waters in the southeast Bahamas and the law enforcement officials made the drug bust.

In addition to the narcotics seized, two smuggling vessels and a vehicle were taken into custody, and six suspected smugglers were arrested.

The seized go-fast vessels and contraband were eventually escorted to Nassau, The Bahamas, for further processing.

“In the maritime environment, we operate efficiently and effectively with a variety of federal, state and local partners including the US Drug Enforcement Administration and the US Coast Guard,” said CBP’s Miami Air and Marine Branch Director William Gibbon.

“Our experienced agents in South Florida are diligently supporting an array of border security and maritime law-enforcement efforts.”

DEA Special Agent in Charge A.D. Wright said OPBAT was able to adapt to the ever-changing tactics of narcotics traffickers.

“Our continued cooperative efforts with the Governments of The Commonwealth of The Bahamas, the Turks and Caicos Islands as well as the US Coast Guard, US Customs and Border Protection and US Department of State to deny traffickers the ability to operate effectively in The Bahamas has left an undeniable footprint in the overall strategy to combat the flow of narcotics,” Wright said.

OPBAT is a combined DEA, US Coast Guard, US Customs and Border Protection and Government of Bahamas partnership to combat drug smuggling to and from The Bahamas.

The OPBAT Operations Center in Nassau is responsible for initiating and prosecuting law-enforcement cases in the Bahamian area of responsibility (AOR). In addition, OPBAT assets regularly assist with prosecuting human-smuggling and search-and-rescue cases throughout the AOR.

US Coast Guard OPBAT Director Commander Mark Driver said the strong partnership between the US and Bahamian forces creates a potent deterrent to criminal activity and has resulted in the seizure of over 45 tons of narcotics since October last year. ~ Caribbean360 ~

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