Categorized | National News

Warning Over Drug Trade

Narcotics trafficking through the Caribbean and the associated criminality that comes along with it may be about to get worse, A United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime report has warned.

The report said there is a growing risk that the Caribbean could once again become the primary conduit for narcotics trafficking into the US.

As those who produce and traffic narcotics into North America and Europe come under increased pressure in Central America and Mexico there is a serious danger that their activities will be displaced into the Caribbean, the report said.

US President Barack Obama recently issued a list of nations contributing to drug production or transit and named The Bahamas as one of the countries considered a major part in the drug trade.

In a presidential memorandum, he said: “I hereby identify the following countries as major drug transit and/or major illicit drug producing countries: Afghanistan, The Bahamas, Belize, Bolivia, Burma, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, India, Jamaica, Laos, Mexico, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Panama, Peru, and Venezuela.”
Earlier this year, a US State Department report expressed concerns about Haitian drug organisations operating in The Bahamas.

And last week, Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Anthony Ferguson told the media that police are keeping a close eye on passengers entering the country from Panama after several people were busted trying smuggle drugs into the country.

Last week Sunday a 27-year-old woman was busted at the Lynden Pindling International Airport (LPIA) with two-and-a-half kilos of suspected cocaine.

She had just arrived on a Copa Airlines flight from Panama.

While the UN document suggests that Jamaica has declined as a location for cocaine shipments to Europe, it says the Dominican Republic, Haiti, the Dutch and French Caribbean plus Suriname, Guyana and French Guiana have become important conduits using, in some cases, routes through West Africa.

The report said as the interdiction success rate increases in Central America and Mexico, producers and traffickers have rapidly re-routed shipments and moved to other locations. Such a move is usually accompanied by significant levels of violence as contesting groups vie for control.

It has been revealed that the Mexico-based Sinaloa Federation is now actively working in the Dominican Republic to establish a local presence and is developing Caribbean trafficking routes to Europe. 

According to US and Dominican Republic officials, the group’s members, who have been trying to establish new routes through The Bahamas, Haiti and Puerto Rico, have been looking at Hispaniola as a location to obtain precursor chemicals to manufacture synthetic drugs such as crystal meth and amphetamines, and have been seeking logistical support for drug flights from Venezuela.

Officials are concerned that the Sinaloa Federation would bring a dangerous and new element into both sides of Hispaniola in the form of extreme violence and an even greater ability to corrupt officials than the Venezuelan and Colombian gangs operating there at present.

They believe that the Sinaloa Federation’s ultimate aim is to create new routes throughout the Caribbean into Puerto Rico for shipments to the US and through other locations to Europe.

The Caribbean Basin is one of the global epicentres of production and distribution.

Drug trafficking is a huge global business valued at around $322 billion per annum.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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