Pubdate: Wed, 06 Dec 2006
Source: Nassau Guardian, The (Bahamas)
Contact:  2006 The Nassau Guardian.
Author: Lededra Marche, Senior FN Reporter


While The Bahamas is not an illicit drug producing country, 
statistics show a definite increase over the last year in the influx 
of dangerous drugs originating from a foreign country and destined to 
a second country location.

That is one of several challenges in the ongoing fight against drug 
trafficking, authorities in Grand Bahama say.

The rise and fall of the volume of illicit drug flow in and through 
The Bahamas is said to be directly related to The Bahamas' geographic 
location which places the country between the producing and consumer nations.

In Grand Bahama, 249 people were arrested this year alone on 
drug-related charges between January 1 and September 30.

The Drug Enforcement Unit in Grand Bahama dealt with 202 cases, 158 
of which were prosecuted.

In all, 1011.61 lb. of cocaine; 71.12 lb. of marijuana; and 2,824 
plants were seized.

The same time last year, DEU officials apprehended 284 persons in 208 
cases of which 180 were prosecuted.

Reports reveal 229.83 lb. of cocaine; 575.52 pounds of marijuana; and 
32 plants were taken into custody.

Those figures show a 12 percent decrease of drug-related arrests in 
Grand Bahama in the last year; a 12 percent drop in the number of 
cases that were prosecuted; and an 88 percent decrease in the number 
of marijuana seizures.

However, the amount of marijuana plant seizures had increased 87.25 
percent as well as the amount of cocaine seizures by 340 percent.

Between January 2005 and September 2006, officials had arrested 
Americans, Bahamians, Haitians and Jamaican nationals for possession 
of dangerous drugs -- the majority, however, were Bahamians and 
marijuana was said to be the drug of choice.

The chain of Bahama Islands, many of which are uninhabited, makes the 
country favourable for transshipment and temporary storage of illicit 
drugs, police officials say.

Authorities also believe The Bahamas' local drug problem is a spin 
off effect from the percentage of drugs destined for the 
international markets being used as part payment for services 
rendered by the local drug traffickers.

Another popular contributing factor is missed delivery, which occurs 
for various reasons and causes the illegal contraband to end up on 
the shorelines and beaches of The Bahamas, thus finding its way into 
the local communities, schools and street corners.

This trend also continues to be a problem for law enforcement officials.

In that vein, local authorities continue to partner with their 
international counterparts in an effort to raise the effectiveness of 
drug interdiction through communication and training.

Local officials are also challenged when traffickers use containers 
as their mode of transportation.

In the last eight months, DEU and Bahamas Customs officials have made 
four drug seizures in containers passing through the Freeport Container Port.

On April 14, a container consisting of 60 kilograms of suspected 
cocaine, weighing 141.88 lb. was discovered.

Two months later, on July, 20 kilograms of suspected cocaine weighing 
49.66 lb. were found.

On August 23, 319 kilograms of suspected cocaine weighing 757 lb. was 
also seized from another container.

Drug Unit Detectives in conjunction with Bahamas Customs also seized 
a container which contained 285 kilograms of suspected cocaine on November 3.

The contraband weighed 627 lb.

No one has been charged in any of the matters, however, police say 
they are making significant progress in their investigations and hope 
the perpetrators will be brought to justice in the shortest possible time.
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