Operation Bahamas Turks and Caicos (OPBAT), consisting of the U.S. Coast Guard, Royal Bahamian Police Force Drug Enforcement Unit and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), located 67 bales of marijuana on Little Farmer’s Cay in the Exuma island chain of the Bahamas, Friday.
The seizure is the second in a week and is a direct result of coordinated U.S. and Bahamian counter-narcotics effort known as Operation Lion Fish.
The marijuana was discovered in a hidden cache on a remote cay and totaled 2,307 pounds. The estimated wholesale value is in excess of $2 million. Following the discovery, a U.S. Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew deployed from Air Station Clearwater, Fla., transported the contraband to Bahamian law enforcement authorities in Nassau, Bahamas.
Four suspects were also taken into custody during the seizure.
“The OPBAT team continues to protect both Bahamian and U.S. citizens from the dangers of illegal drug trade,” said Cmdr. Mark Driver, director of Coast Guard OPBAT. “This drug seizure reinforces the importance of continued cooperation between the U.S Drug Enforcement Administration, U.S. Coast Guard, and Royal Bahamas Police Force to combat illegal narcotic trafficking through the Bahamas.”
OPBAT is a combined DEA, Coast Guard and Government of Bahamas partnership to combat drug smuggling to and from the Bahamas. The OPBAT Operations Center is responsible for initiating and prosecuting law enforcement cases in the Bahamian area of responsibility (AOR). In addition, OPBAT assets regularly assist with prosecuting human smuggling and search and rescue cases throughout the AOR.
Press Release, September 30, 2013; Image: USCG