The Jamaica/Bahamas Drug Trafficking Relationship

May 22, 2017 Crime , North America , OPINION/NEWS

USCG photo



Ricardo Swire


The Bahamas constellation of islands is unofficially the designated main transit station for Jamaican marijuana exports to the USA, Norman’s Cay in Exuma considered the main jewel in the Jamaica/Bahamas trafficking crown.

Transitory marijuana shipments are smuggled aboard commercial airline flights, flown by private plane directly to clandestine landing sites, or air-dropped to small fast pleasure boats in waters near the Bahamas.

On the group of tropical islands high quality marijuana retails at US$100 per quarter ounce. In the early hours of July 15, 2015 a suspicious thirty-five foot go-fast boat with five Bahamians and one Jamaican aboard was intercepted, a patrolling US Customs & Border Protection (CBP) surveillance aircraft detecting the high speed boat, travelling without illuminated navigational lights. The air resource alerted OPBAT headquarters in America’s Nassau Embassy and relayed the sighting.

Operation Bahamas (OPBAT) is a Bahamas/ Turks & Caicos multi-agency taskforce, comprised of US Coast Guard (USCG), Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Customs & Border Protection (CBP) and Bahamian law enforcement partners. The enforcement push conceptionalized to confront territorial drug smuggling. Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF) Drug Enforcement Unit (DEU) officers assisted by Police Marine Support Services Unit colleagues, stopped the vessel in waters off Kemps Bay South Andros Island. The drug boat transported five thousand and fifty pounds of marijuana, with a wholesale value of US$4.6 million.

On April 28, 2017 DEU detectives, assigned to Linden Pindling International Airport, alerted by an intelligence brief, stopped a deplaned thirty-seven year old Jamaican female passenger and asked to conduct a search. As part of the RBPF examination a hospital X-Ray machine was used to look for foreign objects in her stomach. The Jamaican female drugs mule confessed to swallowing three point four pounds of marijuana, for a US$700 delivery fee.

On May 11, 2017 DEU officers, assisted by RBPF Marine Support Services Branch colleagues, seized one hundred and twenty pounds of marijuana. The joint law enforcement team found the marijuana, concealed in nine crocus bags, on Big Galliot Cay in Exuma. One Jamaican male trafficker and one Bahamian male resident of New Providence, most populated island and home to the capital Nassau, were detained.

On May 15, 2017 a Royal Bahamas Defence Force (BDF) Coast Guard (CG) resource intercepted one thousand pounds of marijuana, worth slightly more than US$1 million. The Bahamas CG auxiliary ship, built in 2015 registered IMO: 9729532, was on patrol in Cay Lobos. The CG boarding party found one Jamaican and two Bahamian males aboard a twenty-eight foot, blue and white, go-fast boat. RBPF DEU officers took custody of the three traffickers.

In another scenario a thirty-one year old Sweeting’s Cay Settlement, Green Turtle Cay, Bahamas drug boat Captain and two Jamaican associates were detained, as part of an US Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) operation. The Martin County Sherriff’s Office Crime Scene investigators report detailed how the trio attempted to import two hundred and thirty-six kilograms of marijuana to America. Activity that violated Title 21, United States Code, Sections 952(a), 963 and 960(b)(2).

Florida state’s Jupiter Island Police Department and Martin County Sheriff’s Office detectives captured the three traffickers, after their boat engine malfunctioned and it overturned in rugged waters off Jupiter Island’s coast. US Immigration data reflected that in 2001 one of the two Jamaican traffickers was expelled from America, after authorities discovered he resided under an alias. Again in 2012 the fifty-seven year old man from Kingston was removed from the USA, for presenting a fake permanent resident card at Port Everglades Seaport.





Ricardo Swire - Tuck Magazine

Ricardo Swire

Ricardo Swire is the Principal Consultant at R-L-H Security Consultants & Business Support Services and writes on a number of important issues.


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