Armed police fired on drug smugglers during an extended boat chase in Cayman’s waters. Around 900 pounds of ganja, worth more than $800,000, was eventually seized and three men, from Jamaica, were arrested.
Police said it was the biggest drug bust in the Cayman Islands in the last decade.
Officers from the Joint Marine Unit intercepted a “suspicious vessel” around 11 miles off East End around 6:30 a.m. Monday morning.
The boat refused to stop and was pursued for an extended period in open water. The suspects flung packages overboard as they were pursued and one of the men threatened police with a firearm.
“Officers discharged a service weapon in response, and the vessel was disabled and detained,” according to a Royal Cayman Islands Police Service press statement.
Police observed other firearms on board the drug boat, including some that were thrown overboard during the pursuit.
A large number of the packages that had been tossed overboard were recovered by Joint Marine Unit officers.
The three men on board the vessel, aged 66, 44 and 43, were arrested on suspicion of drug-related charges and firearm offences. The suspects and the drug vessel were detained and conveyed to Grand Cayman.
Commissioner of Police Derek Byrne said, “Interdictions of this scale demonstrate both the continued need for strong border security enforcement efforts and also the dangers that officers can encounter while protecting our borders out on the open water. The presence of firearms on the drug vessel underscores the nexus between the drug trade and importation of illegal firearms to the island, and makes our vigilance, as well as that of our partner agencies, all the more necessary.”