Caribbean Drug Interdiction Operations

June 18, 2018 Crime , Opinion , OPINION/NEWS , OTHER

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Ricardo Swire



The Caribbean is popularly known as America’s “Third Border” because of its adjacent geographical position, an ideological policy conceptionalized with the understanding that together with Canada and Mexico the Caribbean archipelago is a “sea based” US border. American owned Puerto Rico (PR) is one of the transnational drug traffickers’ most popular Caribbean islands. PR’s absence of national security screening and customs clearance, conducted on merchandise shipped to mainland America, are magnetic qualities to drug trafficking organizations.


In 2015 Washington introduced a six point strategy aimed at disrupting the drugs trade. “Operation Lost Honor” was the US Federal Bureau of Investigations undercover probe of twenty-nine suspect Puerto Rican Police Force officers and Criminal Investigations Corps members. The law enforcers were exposed while facilitating mega shipments of cocaine to mainland America. Dutch Caribbean islands Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao, Eustatius, Saba and Saint Maarten or the Netherland Antilles witnessed increases in foreign travellers transporting cocaine and heroin.


In one Dutch Caribbean counter-narcotics enforcement operation three thousand two hundred and sixty-nine pounds of cocaine were seized, the consignment warehoused 34 miles northwest of Aruba’s capital Oranjestad. During a three year period internal security officials, assigned to Schipol International Airport in Amsterdam, stopped more than six thousand human drug mules. America’s Third Border protection strategies incorporate multinational interagency partnerships. The US Coast Guard (USCG), Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and Customs & Border Protection (CBP) also conduct joint operations.


CBP’s Air & Marine Operations Southeast Region monitor maritime approaches eastward, from Southeast Texas to the US Virgin Islands. The Gulf of Mexico and section of Caribbean Sea are included. 2017 CBP efforts resulted with two hundred and sixty-nine thousand, seven hundred and ninety pounds of cocaine intercepted. Three hundred and eighty-four thousand, two hundred and thirty pounds of marijuana, five thousand seven hundred and twenty-one pounds of methamphetamines, one thousand and eighty-nine firearms and US$26.1 million cash also seized.


The CBP’s 2018 “Operation Full Court Press” initiative is spearheaded by Air & Marine Operations (AMO) South-Eastern region. The mission’s focus is “maritime smuggling organizations, responsible for cocaine trafficking via the Caribbean and beyond.” From December 18, 2017 to December 21 2017 more than four thousand seven hundred and thirty-five pounds of cocaine, worth US$61.7 million wholesale, were seized by the Dominican Republic element of Operation Full Court Press. The Third Border concept is reinforced, via provision of specialist equipment and training to CARICOM forces, under labels similar to “Operation Bahamas” and “OPBAT” in the Turks & Caicos.”





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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