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U.S. COAST GUARD: ‘We Have Disrupted The Flow Of Drugs To Puerto Rico And The U.S. Virgin Islands’

SANTO DOMINGO — The U.S. Coast Guard says it seized nearly 2,000 pounds of marijuana, with a street value of at least $3.5 million, during an exercise near the Dominican Republic.

It said six smugglers had been detained in Puerto Rico pending further court action.

“I couldn’t be more proud of this crew,” said Captain Mark Gordon, commanding officer of the USCG cutter Alexander Hamilton. “Even more important than the drugs they kept from reaching our borders, this crew prevented the criminal organizations from using the illicit proceeds from these drugs to further their criminal enterprises and sow violence and corruption wherever they operate.”

As part of its Western Hemisphere strategy, the U.S. Coast Guard said it has increased its presence in the transit corridors of the Eastern Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea.

“These routes are vital to the transnational criminal organizations that use them to move drugs to our borders and profit from the movement and sale of illicit goods,” the U.S. Coast Guard said.

Last weekend, the crew of the cutter Joseph Tezanos (WPC-1118) offloaded 2,513 pounds of cocaine and transferred custody of three suspected smugglers to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Special Agents in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

U.S. Coast Guard, DEA and Caribbean Border Interagency Group (CBIG) law enforcement authorities seized the $28.5-million cocaine shipment and apprehended three men of Dominican Republic nationality, following the interdiction of a 30-foot go-fast vessel in waters north of Loiza, Puerto Rico.

This interdiction was the result of ongoing multi-agency law enforcement efforts in support of Operation Caribbean Guard, the CBIG and the Caribbean Corridor Strike Force, the U.S. Coast Guard said.

“This seizure highlights how effectively the Caribbean Border Interagency Group and Caribbean Corridor Strike Force work together to disrupt the flow of illicit drugs into Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands,” said Lt. Cmdr. Mario Gil.

“We take great pride in knowing that our collective efforts led to this significant victory in combating these transnational criminal organisations who attempt to flood our streets with crime and instability,” he added.

The 7th District is responsible for U.S. Coast Guard activities throughout a 1.7 million-square-mile area including Puerto Rico, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and 34 foreign nations and territories.

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The Author

John McCarthy

John McCarthy

John McCarthy is primarily known for his investigative reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands. A series of reports beginning in the 1990's revealed that there was everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling. Another report, following Hurricane Hugo in 1989, cited a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) confidential overview that said that over 40 percent of the U.S. Virgin Islands public lives below the poverty line. The Virgin Islands Free Press is the only Caribbean news source to regularly incorporate the findings of U.S. Freedom of Information Act requests. John's articles have appeared in the BVI Beacon, St. Croix Avis, San Juan Star and Virgin Islands Daily News. He is the former news director of WSVI-TV Channel 8 on St. Croix.

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