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Moving shipments becoming a difficult task for cocaine traffickers

Posted on November 11, 2009 3:00 AM EST

Miami cocaine traffickers beware because federal law enforcement agencies with the assistance of the U.S. Coast Guard and Marines are cracking down on Florida's borders and in the Caribbean. During the month of October, law enforcement intercepted cocaine shipments in excess of $133 million. The joint operations are intended to curb the number of Florida cocaine trafficking operations that continue to exist despite the large amounts of money and manpower being thrown at the problem. For decades, Miami criminal lawyers have represented clients arrested in joint interdiction operations.

The operations center is being run out of Jacksonville, Florida. The aircrews flying missions over the Caribbean are Jacksonville pilots assigned to the Customs and Border Patrol and the U.S. Marines, while a Coast Guard cutter stationed in Miami also assisted in the operations. Military law allows for military units to support the federal authorities in drug interdiction operations.

On October 9, 2009, Customs and Marine aircraft located a speed boat 50 miles off the coast of Panama. They directed the Coast Guard cutter to the location of the boat and a chase ensued. The individuals in the boat began dumping bales of cocaine over the side and attempted to evade capture. The Coast Guard recovered 36 bales of cocaine heading for the South Florida area.

On October 20, Customs and Marine aircraft with the assistance of the Joint Interagency Task Force South located another speed boat off the coast of Columbia. The aircrews observed the passengers on the speed boat dumping bails of cocaine overboard. The Coast was only able to retrieve two of the bales weighing approximately 100 pounds.

On October 29, 2009, Custom's pilots discovered a speed boat off the coast of Nicaragua which appeared to be engaged in cocaine trafficking. The pilots notified the Coast Guard who in turn launched its helicopter to intercept the cocaine laden craft. The helicopter was forced to fire on the vessel when it attempted to evade capture. Four cocaine traffickers were captured with 74 bales of cocaine weighing approximately 3,700 pounds.

The Jacksonville Joint Air Wing boasts of a record year, intercepting over a 250,000 pounds of cocaine, marijuana and heroin. The total estimated street value of the seized narcotics exceeds $3.2 billion. Thirty-two vessels and one aircraft were seized and are subject to civil forfeiture actions. Nine of the vessels were self-propelled semi-submersible which makes them much more difficult to detect.

CBP Aircraft Aids in Caribbean Cocaine Seizures Worth $133 Million, Trading Markets.com, November 11, 2009.
Categories: Drug Offenses