Bahamas Eyewitness News reports….
With just over two weeks remaining in the year, drug interdiction operations across The Bahamas to date have resulted in the seizure of more than 12,500 pounds of marijuana with an estimated value of over $12.42 million, according to Eyewitness News Online’s analysis of reported seizures for the year.
Authorities also seized approximately 83 pounds of hashish, a derivative of marijuana, according to the data.
Reported drug seizures for the year so far do not provide a complete picture of marijuana busts, as not all incidents, particularly seizures of small amounts of marijuana are always reported.
Additionally, there were at least 27 reported drug seizures where authorities did not state the quantity or value of marijuana found. Although the review does not facilitate a conclusive comparative analysis of seizures year-on-year in the absence of crime statistics, it does provide a good indication of drug trafficking in the country for the more than 11-month period.
In 2017, authorities seized more than 17,600 pounds of marijuana across The Bahamas, according to crime statistics released by the Royal Bahamas Police Force in January.
This is four times the 4,077 pounds of marijuana seized in the previous year.
Of the marijuana seizures this year, there were more than 7,800 marijuana plants discovered.
Last year, authorities uncovered more than 16,000 marijuana plants.
A closer look at seizures for the year shows that marijuana busts continue to be more prevalent in the Family Islands.
There have been several multimillion-dollar drug seizures this year, the data shows.
In January, authorities discovered a field of 3,103 marijuana plants in Marsh Harbour, Abaco.
The estimated value of the drugs was $1.5 million.
Three men were arrested in connection with the bust.
On October 25, three Bahamian men were arrested in connection with the seizure of $3.8 million worth of marijuana. The drugs weighed an estimated 3,850 pounds.
According to police, the Drug Enforcement Unit, acting on information, intercepted a 32-foot go-fast boat in waters off South Andros. During the search 85 bales of suspected marijuana was found.
Less than a week later, DEU officers on patrol in waters off the coast of High Rock, Grand Bahama intercepted a 20-foot vessel with two men on board following a high-speed chase.
The vessel ran aground. When officers boarded the boat, they found 23 crocus sacks containing marijuana.
The estimated value of the drugs was $1.3 million.
Last month, DEU officers intercepted a 21-foot vessel a quarter of a mile off New Providence.
In that case, the men on board attempted to evade authorities and ran the boat aground.
On board was 1,841 pounds of marijuana with an estimated value of $1.84 million.
Last month, Minister of National Security Marvin Dames noted that law enforcement has continued to improve on its intelligence capacity with firearms trafficking and drug trafficking.
“From an enforcement standpoint we are seeing some measure of success,” he told reporters.
“We are not there yet. We are not saying that this is the panacea, but seizures are certainly up.
“The targeting of drug houses in these at-risk communities are up and officers are yielding tremendous success.
“And so, law enforcement are really improving in their strategic outlet.
For the year, authorities have seized 256 illegal firearms and 6,032 rounds of ammunition, according to authorities. In all of 2017, police seized 327 illegal firearms and 9,149 rounds of ammunition.
Police Commissioner Anthony Ferguson is expected to release crime statistics for 2018 early next year during the Police Force’s annual ‘Meet the Press’ briefing at police headquarters.