Coast Guard Cutter Vigilant and other agencies seize drugs in Great Inagua

7th Coast Guard District NewsPORT CANAVERAL, Fla. — The U. S. Coast Guard Cutter Vigilant, assisting Bahamas law enforcement officials, discovered 480 pounds of marijuana and assorted prescription drugs on board the motor vessel Issac which was apprehended on the Bahamian Island of Great Inagua April 4, 2012.

At the request of the Government of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas, cutter Vigilant’s boarding team conducted a joint boarding of the 40-foot vessel with the coordination of Coast Guard Operation Bahamas, Turks and Caicos (OPBAT), U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, Drug Enforcement Unit of Royal Bahamas Police Force and the Royal Bahamas Defence Force. During the search, the drugs were found stowed in a hidden compartment.

The Coast Guard, DEA, and Bahamian law enforcement agencies seizure prevented nearly $500,000 of illegal narcotics from crossing national borders.

The seizure displays the specialized training Coast Guard Maritime Enforcement Specialists and law enforcement personnel receive in searching suspected drug trafficking vessels designed to transport illegal narcotics in hidden compartments.

“It was a long but rewarding day that truly highlighted the teamwork of several agencies working together to discover and stop illegal contraband from being trafficked in the Caribbean,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Kyle Walker, Coast Guard maritime enforcement specialist.

OPBAT is a combined Coast Guard, DEA and Government of Bahamas partnership to combat drug smuggling to and from the Bahamas. The OPBAT Operations Center is responsible for initiating and prosecuting law enforcement cases in the Bahamian area of responsibility (AOR). In addition, OPBAT assets regularly assist with prosecuting human smuggling and search and rescue cases throughout the AOR.

The Vigilant is a 210-foot medium endurance cutter homeported in Port Canaveral, Fla.

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