Four Guyanese citizens were arrested after 4.2 tons of cocaine worth $125 million were seized from a fishing boat sailing north of Suriname, says the U.S. San Juan Coast Guard.
The operation took place on February 16 after the U.S. Coast Guard detected the 70-foot-long fishing boat in the Atlantic Ocean. The captain of the Coast Guard ship said that this was the biggest drug bust since 1999, according to a report by the Agencia EFW.
Ricardo Castrodad, a spokesman for the U.S. Coast Guard in San Juan, said that the fishing boat was searched by a joint patrol made up of the crews of the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Joseph Napier and the coast guard of Trinidad and Tobago.
The fishing vessel, the Lady Michelle, was towed to St. Vincent by the Napier crew, based in Port Canaveral, Florida.
The four men on the boat were taken to the U.S. Virgin Islands to face criminal charges at the US District Court of the Virgin Islands.
The US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) personnel in its Santa Cruz and Barbados offices, among other federal agencies that make up the Caribbean Corridor Strike Force, provided the intelligence that allowed the U.S. Coast Guard to carry out the drug bust.
James Doby , DEA’s assistant special agent in the Caribbean, said that it’s important to increase collaboration between multiple agencies to crack down on this kind of activity.
“As the cocaine flow from South America continues to increase, law enforcement partners in the Eastern Caribbean Region have to increase our collaborative efforts in order to effectively respond to the threat.”
Where the cargo of drugs came from and where it was headed remains unknown; an investigation is still underway.
[Feature Photo: U.S. Coast Guard]