MIAMI — On August 28, a joint task force from Operation Bahamas, Turks and Caicos (OPBAT) seized 1,220 pounds of marijuana worth an estimated wholesale value of $1.1 million in the vicinity of Andros Island, Bahamas.
The OPBAT task force was comprised of elements from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, the U.S. Coast Guard, the Bahamas Drug Enforcement Unit and the Royal Bahamas Police Force.
Aircrews from Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater, FL deploy to forward operating bases and fly aboard the MH-60T Jayhawk helicopter while providing aviation support to OPBAT missions. A deployed OPBAT aircrew stationed at the Atlantic Undersea Test and Evaluation Center (AUTEC) spotted the narcotics stash and vectored investigators to a remote site in the mangroves of Andros Island.
After the stash was located, the Jayhawk aircrew hoisted and transported the narcotics to Bahamian law enforcement authorities in the capital of Nassau on New Providence Island. A total of nine suspects were arrested by the Royal Bahamas Police Force and also transported to Nassau.
“This seizure displays the teamwork of several agencies working together to discover and stop illegal contraband from being trafficked in the Caribbean,” said Commander Mark Driver, the USCG OPBAT Director. "This Coast Guard, Drug Enforcement Administration, and Bahamian law enforcement seizure prevented nearly $1.1 million of illegal narcotics from harming citizens of the Bahamas or crossing international borders."
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.