MIAMI - A U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Office of Air and Marine (OAM) aircrew and Operation Bahamas Turks and Caicos (OPBAT) assets tracked a suspicious vessel near Andros Island in the Bahamas leading to the seizure of over 985 pounds of marijuana and the arrests of two suspected smugglers.
A CBP crew aboard a DHC-8 maritime patrol aircraft initially detected a 35-foot go-fast vessel with its running lights out approximately 20 nautical miles southwest of Andros Island on June 8. Law enforcement personnel supporting the joint task force responded as Bahamian authorities subsequently took two men into custody in Andros and seized dozens of sacks containing marijuana.
The marijuana is estimated to be worth approximately $1 million.
“We’re uniquely positioned to provide direct air and maritime support to our interagency partners and these collaborative efforts are crucial in disrupting illicit activity and potential threats,” said William Gibbon, director of CBP’s Miami Air and Marine Branch. “We’ll continue to deter and detect the illegal entry of people, weapons and drugs to secure our maritime borders.”
OPBAT is a joint partnership with the DEA, the governments of The Commonwealth of The Bahamas, the Turks and Caicos Islands as well as the U.S. Coast Guard and CBP to combat drug smuggling to and from the Bahamas. In addition, OPBAT assets regularly assist with prosecuting human smuggling and search and rescue cases.
The mission of the CBP Office of Air and Marine is to serve and protect the American people. OAM applies advanced aeronautical and maritime capabilities and employs a unique skill set to preserve America’s security interests.
If you have information about maritime smuggling or suspicious activity call 1-800-BE-ALERT (1-800-232-5378) or the after-hours toll-free number, 1-800-562-5943.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.