Coast Guard conducts operation at U.S. Virgin Islands ferry terminals

Coast Guard and federal law enforcement authorities completed a three-day multi-agency operation Feb. 22, 2020 in the U.S. Virgin Islands in support of Operation Full Court Press. This joint operation focused on illegal immigration and narcotics trafficking. Over 15 cargo ferry and passengers ferry were screened with more than 1000 passengers going through check points established at the Saint John and Saint Thomas ferry terminals with the assistance of the Transportation Security Administration.

Coast Guard and federal law enforcement authorities completed a three-day multi-agency operation Feb. 22, 2020 in the U.S. Virgin Islands in support of Operation Full Court Press.

SAINT THOMAS, U.S. Virgin Islands – Coast Guard and federal law enforcement authorities completed a three-day multi-agency operation Saturday in the U.S. Virgin Islands in support of Operation Full Court Press.

This joint operation focused on illegal immigration and narcotics trafficking, and included participation from Coast Guard Boat Forces in Saint Thomas and Saint Croix, Coast Guard Sector San Juan Boarding Team, Customs and Border Protection’s Air & Marine Operations (AMO) and Field Operations, FBI, Immigration and Customs Enforcement-Homeland Security Investigations and the Transportation Security Administration.

During the course of the operation, over 15 cargo ferry and passengers ferry were screened with more than 1000 passengers going through check points established at the Saint John and Saint Thomas ferry terminals with the assistance of the Transportation Security Administration.

Monitoring efforts at the check point revealed two cases of passengers carrying a firearm, and over 30 cases of passengers carrying knives or other sharp objects. These cases were addressed immediately and actions were taken to collect the weapons and sharp objects from the passengers before boarding the ferry. In one instance, a Customs and Border Protection K-9 unit successfully identified a person who was in possession of marijuana for personal use. The subject was referred to local law enforcement authorities for processing. Additionally, two illegal aliens, a Dominican Republic national and Ecuadorian national, were also detained. The men were interviewed and processed for removal by immigration authorities.

“This operation was a success thanks to the professionalism, commitment and seamless communication and collaboration between all the agency personnel involved,” said Chief Petty Officer Luis Cabrera, Boat Forces Saint Thomas supervisor. “For any situation that we encountered we had a federal agency subject matter expert available on scene to deal with the situation immediately. These efforts help protect our maritime transportation system and waterway for the safety of our citizens and visitors in the U.S. Virgin Islands.”

Operation Full Court Press joins interdiction assets from Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine Operations (CBP AMO), Coast Guard, and Department of Defense (DoD) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement-Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI), in coordination with Joint Interagency Task Force South (JIATF-South), to disrupt Transnational Criminal Organizations within the maritime approaches to the Southeastern United States.

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