Drug trafficking via The Bahamas
With over 700 islands spread across thousands of miles of water, The Bahamas’ coastline provides innumerable opportunities to smuggle drugs, weapons and humans. There are simply too many places to hide, stash, and transit illegal goods and too few resources to track, locate, and arrest perpetrators.
The Bahamas has the uncanny ability to attract so-called dubious individuals – from financiers avoiding extradition or taxes, to drug and human traffickers. Our island nation of some 350,000 does little to halt the perception that participation in illegal activities is welcomed here.
Drug trafficking is alive and well in The Bahamas as evidenced by the stash of 345 pounds of cocaine worth $2.5 million found at North West Cay, off Great Inagua. The joint operation between the Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF) and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) attests to the crucial coordination between The Bahamas and U.S. governments to thwart drug smuggling.
The Bahamas has a partner with vast resources to help combat narcotics trafficking, but unless Bahamians make a commitment to prosecute and incarcerate dealers in a timely manner, drug trafficking will continue to proliferate across the islands. The Bahamas must also commit to harsher sentences for those caught smuggling large amounts of narcotics.
As vast as the waters of The Bahamas are, the airways are not immune to drug transit. In just two months, police have reported the confiscation of over 50 pounds of cocaine at Lynden Pindling International Airport (LPIA). In August police allege an individual upon arrival to customs was found with four and a half pounds of cocaine; in mid-July police allege an individual with over seven pounds of cocaine was discovered; and in early July over 40 pounds of cocaine was found on a commercial airline after police acted on information from U.S. Customs & Border Protection personnel.
The Bahamas must press forward in the fight to combat the trafficking of drugs through our country. Though it may never cease completely, we cannot ignore the affiliation of drug trafficking to other crimes being committed. We only need to look at Mexico.
The saga of illicit trading in The Bahamas began well before narcotics trafficking with bootlegging and piracy. So entwined is Bahamian history with smuggling and outrunning the law, it permeates Bahamian culture. But set now in the global age, The Bahamas cannot afford to lose investor confidence with the country’s governing stability marred by increased criminal activity.
Sep 06, 2012