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Gulf Coast Taskforce Seizes Sailboat, 4,500 Pounds of Marijuana, Arrests 3

Release Date: 
November 24, 2010

Gulfport, Miss. - On Nov. 21, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Gulf Coast Border Enforcement Security Taskforce reported the arrest of three subjects, the seizure of a sailing vessel and approximately 4,500 pounds of marijuana on the Mississippi Sound south of Bay St. Louis, Miss.

Gulf Coast BEST taskforce members begin unloading some of the 4,500 pounds of marijuana seized from the sailboat Sarah Moira.

Gulf Coast BEST taskforce members begin unloading some of the 4,500 pounds of marijuana seized from the sailboat Sarah Moira.

While on patrol in the Gulf of Mexico, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine aircraft located a sailing vessel, later identified as the Sarah Moira, an 80 foot steel hull sailboat. CBP marine assets maintained surveillance of the craft until it was boarded by BEST task force members from CBP's Office Air and Marine, Office of Border Patrol and Office of Field Operations, U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations and the Harrison County sherriff's office.

Their search revealed two large wooden containers in the forward hold of the vessel containing contraband weighing approximately 4,500 pounds. The three subjects aboard the vessel were taken into custody and the vessel was brought to the Coast Guard station in Gulfport, Miss., for an extensive search.

Marijuana found in the forward hold of the sailboat Sarah Moira in a recent seizure by the Gulf Coast BEST Taskforce.

Marijuana found in the forward hold of the sailboat Sarah Moira in a recent seizure by the Gulf Coast BEST Taskforce.

"The success of this operation was due to the close collaboration between law enforcement agencies in the region," said Nicholas Doucet, CBP director of air operations for the New Orleans Air and Marine Branch. "These partnerships provide for an all-threats multi-agency approach to maritime law enforcement that enhances our effectiveness in securing our borders from those who wish to harm us. CBP utilizes various aviation and maritime assets throughout the Gulf Coast region to protect the United States from the unlawful movement of people, illegal drugs and other contraband toward or across our country's borders."

"Yesterday's arrests clearly show how the extensive cooperation of all members of the Gulf Coast BEST can bring to justice a criminal organization that was transporting illegal drugs into the United States," said Raymond R. Parmer, Jr., special agent in charge of the ICE Office of Homeland Security Investigations in New Orleans. "This organization was reaping profits by bringing these drugs into the country and distributing them to our communities. ICE and our BEST partners are dedicated to targeting and dismantling criminal organizations that endanger public safety."

The Gulf Coast BEST is a DHS initiative established in New Orleans, Gulfport, and Mobile designed as a multi-agency response to address national security and other law enforcement concerns affecting the Gulf Coast. It is comprised of ICE Homeland Security Investigations, CBP, Transportation Security Administration, U.S. Coast Guard, Internal Revenue Service and several state and local law enforcement agencies from Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama.

BEST members are co-located so that they can effectively share information. Close coordination among federal, state and local law enforcement agencies helps to identify and eliminate cross-border criminal organizations such as alien smuggling networks and the infrastructures that sustain them.

This seizure highlights the success of the Gulf Coast BEST and its commitment to identify, disrupt and dismantle dangerous transnational crime which threatens the U.S.

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.

Last modified: 
February 9, 2017