MIAMI (AFP) – US officials seized 436 kilos (960 pounds) of marijuana and detained three people after chasing a speedboat into Haitian waters with permission from the Port-au-Prince government, the US Coast Guard (USCG) said.
The three suspects claimed to be Jamaican nationals, the USCG said in a statement.
The Coast Guard vessel Thetis was patroling south of Haiti when its crew spotted the suspicious boat and chased it “into Haitian waters after enacting a standing bilateral agreement between the two countries for the purpose of counter-drug operations,” the statement said.
“During the pursuit, the smugglers tossed nine bales of marijuana overboard before finally stopping two miles off the coast of Haiti. A boarding later discovered an additional 15 bales still on the vessel,” the USCG said, adding that the total shipment amounted to 960 pounds.
The three people aboard the speedboat are to be prosecuted in Miami, while their vessel was handed over to Haitian authorities.
“This is an important step in the continuing restoration of security and stability in Haiti,” said Rear Admiral Harvey Johnson, who commands USCG operations in the region.
“We have removed a large amount of illegal drugs from Haiti that may have been destined for the U.S., and the Haitian government has demonstrated their commitment to continued cooperation in the international effort to stem the flow of drugs that moves through the Caribbean region.”