HomeNewsBriefString of Large Drug Seizures Suggests Growth in Caribbean Trafficking
BRIEF

String of Large Drug Seizures Suggests Growth in Caribbean Trafficking

CARIBBEAN / 7 JUN 2017 BY TRISTAN CLAVEL EN

The US Coast Guard recently offloaded in Puerto Rico more than a metric ton of cocaine, the latest in a string of seizures that points to a potential growth in the Caribbean's role as a drug transshipment hub.

The Coast Guard unloaded 1.1 metric tons of cocaine in Puerto Rico on June 2. The drugs, seized a week earlier off the island's southern coast, are estimated to have a wholesale value of around $32 million.

According to a June 6 press release, three Dominican nationals were arrested as part of the operation. They will face US federal charges in a Puerto Rico court.

The incident is the latest in a series of large cocaine seizures in the Caribbean this year. In a single operation in February, the Coast Guard seized 4.2 metric tons of cocaine heading to Europe in international waters off the northern coast of Suriname -- the largest bust in the Atlantic Ocean in nearly two decades.

Meanwhile, on June 4, the Jamaica Observer reported a small seizure of 75 kilograms of cocaine that were being shipped from Suriname and Guyana, indicating that the Caribbean is an important route for both large-scale and small-scale trafficking.

InSight Crime Analysis

The latest seizures serve as a reminder of the Caribbean's important role as a drug transshipment hub, but also of the variety of routes and operations established in the area.

Central America and Mexico remain the main corridor for South American drugs heading to the US market, accounting for an estimated 76 percent of cocaine smuggled north, according to the US Drug Enforcement Administration's 2016 National Drug Threat Assessment report. However, almost all of the remainder travels to the United States through the Caribbean, the report states.

SEE ALSO: Caribbean News and Profile

US authorities have in the past argued that evidence points to growing trafficking activities through the Caribbean. In fact, the DEA has said that the region saw a three-fold increase in drug smuggling between 2009 and 2014.

Indeed, the Caribbean's transshipment role has grown increasingly visible in recent years. The region remains one of the two main transit points for cocaine crossing the Atlantic to feed European consumption markets. This flow has most likely been fueled by the boom in Colombia's cocaine production, while the deep crisis shaking neighboring Venezuela -- from where many Caribbean shipments are launched -- also facilitates trafficking activities.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

CARIBBEAN / 22 SEP 2011

A handwritten letter sent from Jamaican druglord Christopher "Dudus" Coke to his trial judge, asking for leniency, offers some unique…

CARIBBEAN / 2 OCT 2013

The FBI has dismantled a major drug trafficking group in Puerto Rico that allegedly moved at least nine tons of…

CARIBBEAN / 16 MAY 2013

Jamaican authorities are targeting over $300 million dollars worth of alleged narco-properties in the western part of the island, reportedly…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela's Cocaine Revolution Met With Uproar

6 MAY 2022

On May 4, InSight Crime launched its latest investigation, Venezuela’s Cocaine Revolution¸ accompanied by a virtual panel on its findings. The takeaways from this three-year effort, including the fact that Venezuela…

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela Drug Trafficking Investigation and InDepth Gender Coverage

29 APR 2022

On May 4, InSight Crime will be publishing The Cocaine Revolution in Venezuela, a groundbreaking investigation into how the Venezuelan government regulates the cocaine trade in the country. An accompanying event,…

THE ORGANIZATION

InDepth Coverage of Juan Orlando Hernández

22 APR 2022

Ever since Juan Orlando Hernández was elected president of Honduras in 2014, InSight Crime has provided coverage of every twist and turn during his rollercoaster time in office, amid growing…

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela's Cocaine Revolution

15 APR 2022

On May 4th, InSight Crime will publish a groundbreaking investigation on drug trafficking in Venezuela. A product of three years of field research across the country, the study uncovers cocaine production in…

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Widespread Coverage of InSight Crime MS13 Investigation

8 APR 2022

In a joint investigation with La Prensa Gráfica, InSight Crime recently revealed that four of the MS13’s foremost leaders had been quietly released from…