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|Miami Herald: Winning the war on drugs|
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|Posted by:||Jun 25th 2004, 07:57:20 pm|
|Fig Tree News Team||Briland's own Jackswell "Jackie Boy" Percentie is an active part of the solution:
June 25, 2004 - 17:45
Rally In The Park To Address Drug Problem
''We have a serious drug problem in the Bahamas, but if we take it in hand at this particular time, then there's hope''
In a serious effort to address the ongoing drug problem that torments the community, the Bahamas National Drug Council has collaborated with the Nassau Village Urban Renewal Project and the Southeastern Police to present the "Rally on the Park," an inspiring day full of dancers, artists and foods, aimed at reaching out to the area's younger residents who may be exposed to drug abuse and drug trafficking.
"The community of Nassau Village has one of the largest youth populations in the country," Larriet Josey, the Dean of the Urban Renewal Commission's Secretariat said yesterday at a press conference to announce the event.
"As a result of this, Nassau Village is already plagued by many social ills affecting young people. The most prominent problem is that of drug abuse."
Jackswell Percentie, coordinator of the Bahamas National Drug Council, said that drugs are a problem, but the right treatment will work. "We will eventually break the back of drug abuse."
Assistant Superintendent Wayne Miller, of the Southeastern Police Division, said young drug abusers should get the chance to receive counselling and treatment, as opposed to incarceration.
"We want as much as possible to assist as many of our young people to escape the vicious cycle of drug abuse and the allure of drug trafficking," ASP Miller emphasised. "Too many young people end up with a criminal record, which can be a hindrance to them in the future."
William Weeks, the co-chairman of the Bahamas National Drug Council, noted that the courts have already started to use alternative sentencing, mandated to rehab centres for treatment and counseling.
"The disease of addiction is a relapsing disease, but, fortunately, there is hope after any situation."
The new law enforcement would transfer drug abusers from prison to rehabilitation centres. Abusers are monitored at the centres, returned to court, and, if cooperative and fully rehabilitated, released back into society.
"Young people in the Bahamas are our most important resource.
"Consequently, whatever it takes to keep them healthy and strong, we plan to do," Mr Weeks said.
Officer from the Southeastern Police Division, Cindy Charlton, is very sympathetic to the cause, particularly because she sees herself not so far removed from the younger generation.
"I want to let the younger persons know that whatever they may be going through that they are not alone," says Ms Charlton, 28.
"We have a serious drug problem in the Bahamas, but if we take it in hand at this particular time, then there's hope. If we reach out to the younger generation, as they grow up, we wouldn't have this problem."
The ‘Rally on the Park,' under the theme "Hope After Dope," will be held at the Nassau Village Park on Saturday from noon to 6pm.
Matthew Cromwell, The Tribune
|Posted by:||Jun 25th 2004, 11:30:47 am|
|Kristel||From the Nassau Guardian:
DEA snags suspected drug runners in operation 'Bahama Tidal Wave'
By ANTHONY CAPRON
Fifteen people were arrested in New Providence, Eleuthera and Bimini yesterday in police operation "Bahama Tidal Wave," which started at 2 a.m.
The arrests resulted from search warrants being executed on the premises of several major drug trafficking organisations in The Bahamas.
Also yesterday, a 17-count indictment filed in the U.S. District Court of South Florida against 21 members of a Bahamian organisation was unsealed by United States Attorney General John Ashcroft at the Department of Justice in Washington, DC. Mr Ashcroft named the two Bahamian leaders of the organisation, at the same time announcing the indictment and arrest of Colombian drug trafficker Elias Cobos-Munoz, reputedly the head of one of the largest drug trafficking and drug transportation organisations based in Colombia and Jamaica.
The Grand Jury indictment from count one through 17 charges the two Bahamian leaders and the 19 members of the organisation with conspiracy to and importing cocaine and marijuana into the United States.
The indictments and arrests came as a result of Operation Manatee in the case of Cobos-Munoz and Operation Double talk for the Bahamian organisation. In addition to the indictments filed in Florida, an indictment was returned on Feb. 5 by a federal grand jury in the District of Colombia charging a Bahamian pilot for the Cobos organisation, with trafficking drugs, flying bulk loads of cocaine from Colombia to Jamaica and The Bahamas for delivery to the United States.
"This series of indictments and related arrests represents the successful culmination of DEA's Caribbean Initiative," said the attorney general. He called it a multi-faceted attack on all levels of certain major trafficking organisations operating in the Caribbean corridor.
The 29 month–long international Organised Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force investigation into cocaine and marijuana trafficking was conducted by the DEA and other American law enforcement, working with partners in six foreign countries including The Bahamas, Colombia, Canada, Jamaica, Panama and the United Kingdom.
Commissioner of Police Paul Farquharson said the objective of the operation was to "disrupt the illicit trafficking of contraband being smuggled from Colombia to Jamaica and through The Bahamas enroute to the United States of America and Canada.
Mr Farquharson said from January 2003 to the present the drug trafficking activities of five major organisations have been successfully investigated, with massive amounts of cocaine and marijuana being seized.
"Additionally, officers also seized $825,432 cash in suspected proceeds of dangerous drugs," he said, noting that 19 people have been charged before the courts, with two additional persons being sought.
DEA administrator Karen Tandy called drug traffickers "modern day Pirates of the Caribbean" who prey on the vulnerable, plunder for profit, and intimidate through violence. She said the dismantled trafficking organisations were responsible for distributing three metric tons of cocaine in the US every month, amounting to at least 10 to 12 per cent of the US supply.
"We are seeking extradition of these alleged criminals to the United States so that they will answer to the courts in the same land where they profited from poisoning America's children," she said.
|Posted by:||Jun 24th 2004, 11:40:08 am|
|Fig Tree News Team||WAR ON DRUGS
Key cocaine routes closed, feds say
Amid a crackdown on the Caribbean cocaine corridor, the U.S. announced the indictment of more than 50 people on charges that they shipped cocaine into South Florida.
BY JAY WEAVER
WASHINGTON - Taking on high-tech drug-trafficking operations that mimic the structure and sophistication of Fortune 500 companies, federal agents say they have cut the flow of cocaine into the United States by 10 percent by choking off key smuggling routes in the Caribbean.
On Wednesday, the U.S. government announced the indictment of more than 50 people in Miami federal court on charges that they shipped cocaine from Colombia through Caribbean countries and into South Florida.
The indictments culminated a five-year investigation that had already resulted in more than 330 arrests and the seizure of 26,000 kilos of cocaine and $85 million in laundered money.
The smugglers moved the drugs from Jamaica, the Bahamas and the Dominican Republic in all manner of vessels, from high-powered go-fast boats to modest fishing crafts, officials said.
They avoided Biscayne Bay and the Miami River in favor of less conspicuous marinas in Broward and Palm Beach counties where they mingled with other recreational boaters so they could slip by unnoticed.
Among the most notorious names in the indictments was one of the U.S. government's most-wanted cocaine suppliers, Colombian Elías Cobos-Muñoz. He was arrested Monday in Colombia and faces extradition.
U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft, who announced the indictments, praised the unprecedented ''united effort to close the Caribbean corridor to drugs'' by various federal agencies and the governments of Colombia, Jamaica, the Bahamas, Dominican Republic, Panama and Canada.
Until their cooperation, an estimated 94 tons of cocaine flowed from Colombia through the Caribbean every year, he said. The massive undercover operations cut that amount by a third, he said, and the total cocaine coming into the United States from all routes by 10 percent.
''Our ultimate goal is to see the flow of drugs to this country dwindle,'' Ashcroft said, singling out the success of two investigations, Operation Busted Manatee and Operation Double Talk, that resulted in Wednesday's indictments.
The operations, led by the Drug Enforcement Administration, signal a renewed campaign to target a more sophisticated Colombian network of narcotics partnerships in the Caribbean -- in addition to focusing on even greater drug-smuggling activities in Mexico and along the border states of Texas, Arizona, New Mexico and California.
''We have had one hell of an impact on the trafficking in the Caribbean,'' Thomas Raffanello, special agent in charge of the DEA's Miami field office, said in an interview.
Since 1999, federal agents have arrested more than 330 suppliers, traffickers, transporters, distributors and money launderers through eight undercover operations in the DEA's ``Caribbean Initiative.''
About 50 suspects were arrested this week in the final two operations.
Among them: Nestor Plata of Pembroke Pines, arrested Wednesday on money-laundering charges. He is set to make his first appearance in Miami federal court today.
Another target already in U.S. custody is Jean Eliobert Jasme, a major Haitian drug-trafficker who was expelled from Haiti last year and now faces charges in Miami.
U.S. Attorney Marcos Jimenez said Jasme was among the first Haitian drug arrests, leading to similar charges against five former government and police officials since the ouster of Haiti's president Jean-Bertrand Aristide in February.
Federal agents said the entities bringing cocaine to the United States are not like the old Colombian cartels of the '70s and '80s. Instead, they are structured like Fortune 500 companies with transporters and distributors sharing risks and investments with the biggest Colombian suppliers.
They also use the most sophisticated communications technology to evade agents in the Caribbean.
DEA Administrator Karen Tandy, who referred to them as ''modern pirates,'' said Cobos-Muñoz's capture in Colombia, along with the arrest of four other most-wanted cocaine suppliers and smugglers during the past year, was critical to the crackdown in the Caribbean.
But one defendant who won't be appearing in U.S. courts anytime soon is Rafael Bustamante, whose name was phonetically used by the DEA's Miami field office for Operation Busted Manatee.
Bustamante, a Colombian, was based in Jamaica and in charge of transporting cocaine, agents said. He tried to hide in Cuba when he realized the DEA was coming after him.
Agents said they alerted Cuban officials, who tracked down Bustamante, convicted him on drug-related charges and sentenced him to life in prison. The U.S. government wants Cuba to send Bustamante to America to face federal smuggling charges.
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