The US Coast Guard seized the biggest boatload of cocaine in nearly two decades when some $125 million worth of the drug was unloaded in Puerto Rico this month, March 2017.
By NAN Staff Writer
News Americas, WASHINGTON, D.C., Weds. Mar. 22, 2017: A list of five Caribbean nations has been sent to the U.S. Congress by Donald Trump with the label: “major illicit drug producing and/or drug-transit countries.”
That’s according to the latest International Narcotics Control Strategy Report on Drug and Chemical Control, released recently by the U.S. State Department. Here are the five:
The Bahamas was named as a major drug-transit country because the US government says it remains a transit point for illegal drugs bound for the United States and other international markets. The report says drug smuggling also occurs through commercial and private plane traffic and continues by means of remote airfields and airdrops from South and Central America because it is enabled and accompanied by organized crime and gang activity.
Haiti was also named as a major transit country because it is a transit point for cocaine originating in South America and marijuana originating in Jamaica, en route to the United States and other markets, the State Department report says. The report also slammed what it termed “the dysfunctional Haitian judicial system,” which it says drastically limits domestic prosecution of drug cases and thus reduces disincentives to drug-trafficking operations.
Belize was also listed as a major transit country for illegal drugs destined for the United States from source countries in South America, due to its position along the Central American corridor. The State Department also says the country’s remote jungles provide a hospitable environment for the growing and transferring of cannabis and urged the government in Belize to strengthen its public security and law enforcement institutions through more effective anti-corruption legislation, comprehensive background checks and vetting of new and existing personnel, better training, and continuing education programs.
The Dominican Republic
The Dominican Republic was also listed as an “important transit country for illicit drugs from South America destined for North America and Europe. “ The U.S. government estimates that approximately six percent of the cocaine transiting to those markets transships through the Dominican Republic. The State Department is urging the Dominican Republic government to continue to improve its efforts to build a coherent, multifaceted counterdrug program that will see increased domestic cooperation between the police, the military units and other law enforcement agencies in other countries in the region.
Jamaica was listed as both a supplier and a transit point. According to the US, the country remains the largest Caribbean supplier of marijuana to the United States and local Caribbean islands. But it added that Jamaica is also a transit point for drugs trafficked from South America to North America and other international markets. Most of the drugs flow from and through Jamaica by maritime conveyance, air freight, human couriers, and private aircraft, the US report said.
The State Department also added that illicit drugs are also a means of exchange for illegally-trafficked firearms entering the country, exacerbating Jamaica’s security situation. The US ended by urging Jamaica to continue to implement efforts to reform and strengthen its criminal court system, noting that law enforcement agencies, are limited by a chronic inability of prosecutors and the courts to keep pace and secure prompt convictions.