Coast Guard chases, seizes two drug-laden speedboats

Discussion in 'Marijuana News' started by aeroblurg, May 5, 2001.

  1. is it illegal to have controled substances in international waters?
  2. posted 05/04/01

    Crew members of the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Bear pick up a package containing marijuana after smugglers attempted to get rid of their cargo off the U.S. coast Thursday.

    KEY WEST -- Three suspected drug smugglers were arrested Friday after leading U.S. Coast Guard cutters on a high-speed overnight chase earlier this week, officials said.

    A Coast Guard cutter transferred the three, who claimed to be Bahamian, and 2,093 pounds of marijuana to U.S. Customs Service officials in Key West at about 8 a.m. Friday, said Robert Suddarth, a Coast Guard spokesman.

    The Coast Guard did not immediately release the suspects' names.

    The men were charged with possession of a controlled substance with the intent to distribute, and taken to the Monroe County Detention Center, said Norma Morfa, a Customs spokeswoman.

    On Monday, an airplane of the interagency drug task force from Jacksonville spotted the suspects on board a 35-foot speedboat 44 miles north of Punta Maisi, Cuba. The boat was carrying cargo covered by a tarp, the Coast Guard said.

    Another helicopter and Coast Guard airplane were dispatched and chased the vessel.

    Two Coast Guard cutters later intercepted the speedboat 20 miles southeast of Ragged Islands, Bahamas. The crew of the cutter Tampa fired 15 warning shots from a .50-caliber machine gun.

    The suspects began to throw cargo over the side of the vessel, but eventually stopped and put their hands up. The crew of the Tampa seized the speedboat and marijuana, and took the suspects into custody.

    The men are scheduled to appear before a judge Monday, Morfa said.

    In another case announced Friday, authorities spotted a suspicious speedboat with two men onboard south of Cuba on Sunday. The Coast Guard cutters Tampa and Bear chased the vessel for 19 hours over 340 miles.

    As the two alleged drug smugglers neared Long Island, Bahamas, they began to throw their cargo overboard. The men reached the island and tried to flee, the Coast Guard said.

    Drug Enforcement Administration agents caught the unidentified men and arrested them. Approximately 2,135 pounds of marijuana were seized and turned over to Bahamian authorities, the Coast Guard said.

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