Jamaica: Operation Riptide

September 13, 2018 Crime , North America , OPINION/NEWS , OTHER

DoD photo



Ricardo Swire



During the first quarter of 2018 the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) and Dutch Caribbean Coast Guard resources joined United States Coast Guard (USCG) Atlantic Area units that included CG Cutter Resolute in Operation Riptide. The mission was an offensive against criminal networks and drug traffickers operating in the Caribbean. In 2016 not far away in Costa Rica, its National Coast Guard Service identified 200 drug boats, the number nearly double the 125 discovered the previous year.


On March 17, 2018 Operation Riptide stopped two suspicious vessels collectively transporting 1.3 tons of marijuana. On May 3, 2018 Jamaica Coast Guard vessel HMJS Cornwall intercepted a boat navigating off the Westmoreland coast, two Jamaicans and one Haitian found aboard. The trio transported 765 pounds of marijuana. The 2018 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report listed the island as largest supplier of marijuana to the United States.


Jamaica was also referred to as a popular transit point for cocaine exported from South to North America. 2013 national statistics recorded 1,230 kilos of cocaine were seized, compared to 338 kilos in 2012. Jamaican traffickers routinely export marijuana consignments to other Caribbean islands, mainly via high-speed boats. Next-door on Haiti payments are made with illegal guns and other contraband. The 2016 Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) annual report credited officers with 48 tons of seized marijuana.


Jamaica has 92,000 square miles of maritime domain, twenty-five times more than its landmass. Porous maritime borders, isolated beaches and coastal villages make coastal security difficult. In December 2016 the JCF and Jamaica Defence Force signed a Memorandum of Understanding for maritime bases located at the Rocky Point and Oracabessa in the parish of St Mary. The high value project included two 30-foot Boston Whaler boats and multiple twin-cab pickup vehicles, assigned to Rocky Point and Alligator Pond locally known as “Little Ochi.” Three marine resources plus a coxswain and crew are deployed and rotated for twenty-four hours, seven days per week.


In 2017 the JDF Coast Guard enhanced its maritime border protection and security capabilities. Two Stan Patrol 4207 offshore enforcement vessels joined eight inshore patrol and coastal interceptors. JDF Coast Guard also has its maritime patrol aircraft on order to supplement security duties from the skies. On Saturday March 17, 2018 USCG Cutter Resolute, supported by a US Customs & Border Protection aircraft on Operation Riptide duties, interdicted two smuggling vessels. The narco boats carried a combined total of 2,600 pounds of marijuana worth US$2.2 million wholesale.





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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