SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (CMC) – The United States Coast Guard says it has detained two Guyanese and three Jamaican smugglers and seized 215 pounds of cocaine aboard a Guyanese fishing vessel in the Caribbean Sea.
The Coast Guard said Monday that the interdiction, on July 2, was the result of a multi-agency law enforcement effort in support of Operation Unified Resolve, Operation Caribbean Guard and the Caribbean Corridor Strike Force.
The seized contraband has an estimated wholesale value of US$3.2 million, the Coast Guard said.
“The crew of Dauntless performed flawlessly under challenging conditions to complete this law enforcement mission,” said Commander Charles “Fritz” Kuebler, US Coast Guard Cutter Dauntless commanding officer.
“This is a great way to start our counter-drug patrol here in the Caribbean. We are glad these drugs will not reach our streets, and we hope this interdiction will help investigatory agencies dismantle the trans-national organised crime networks that threaten the security and prosperity of the US and our Caribbean neighbours.”
The Coast Guard said the crew of the Dauntless detected a suspicious fishing vessel named “Chrispoph”, about 170 miles south of the Dominican Republic, with five people and possible contraband on board.
The Coast Guard said it contacted the Guyanese Government, which confirmed the Guyanese registry of the “Chrispoph” and authorised the Coast Guard to stop, board and search the vessel.
“The Dauntless boarding team proceeded to go on board the “Chrispoph”, and, during a preliminary search of the fishing vessel, located five bales carrying 98 packages of suspected contraband,” the Coast Guard said.
“While still on board the fishing vessel, the boarding team received information from the master and confirmed that the vessel was taking on water due to a broken shaft seal,” it added.
The Coast Guard said the Dauntless crew transferred the cocaine and suspected smugglers to the William Trump for transport to San Juan, Puerto Rico, where they were taken into custody by special agents from the Caribbean Corridor Strike Force.