Coast Guard Offloads Marijuana Seized in Caribbean
SAN JUAN, P.R. — The Coast Guard offloaded approximately 573 pounds of marijuana on May 18 in St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, the service said in a May 19 release.
The offload comes following a recent at-sea interdiction in international waters off the French Caribbean island of Martinique. The seized marijuana is estimated to have a wholesale value of approximately $1.2 million.
Seven suspected smugglers, all Venezuelan nationals, have been turned over to the U.S. Department of Justice for potential prosecution by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of the Virgin Islands.
The interdiction was the result of ongoing, multi-agency and international law enforcement efforts in support of Operation Unified Resolve, Operation Caribbean Guard.
During the afternoon of May 8, a suspicious go-fast vessel was detected in international waters off Martinique by a maritime patrol aircraft, flying in support of Joint Interagency Task Force-South. Coast Guard watch-standers at Sector San Juan diverted the Cutter Donald Horsley to interdict the suspect vessel. The cutter crew interdicted the go-fast, detained the seven men onboard and seized multiple bales of contraband, which tested positive for marijuana.
“Thanks to the interagency cooperation and strong regional partnerships we succeeded in stopping this illegal drug smuggling venture and bringing seven suspected smugglers to justice,” said Cmdr. Christopher Douglas, Sector San Juan chief of response.
The contraband offloaded in the U.S. Virgin Islands was placed in the custody of the Drug Enforcement Agency special agents in St. Croix for processing and disposition.