Officers from Cayman’s newly formed Coast Guard helped intercept smugglers running drugs and ammunition through the region’s waters.
Two boats were seized, 14 people were arrested and a firearm and 91 rounds of ammunition were confiscated during Operation Rip Tide, a joint mission with the Jamaica Defence Force and the US Coast Guard.
Border enforcement officials also confiscated a total of US$9,000 and 5,280 pounds of marijuana with a street value of US$3.7 million during the operation.
Cayman’s Coast Guard Lieutenant Commander Leo Anglin and Police Constable Adrian Clarke were deployed onboard the Jamaican Defence Force Coast Guard’s offshore patrol vessels HMJS Cornwall and HMJS Middlesex as well as the US Coast Guard’s Venturous.
Anglin said, “This type of joint operation lets us leverage inter-agency partnerships to target maritime smuggling organisations responsible for the illicit trafficking of persons, drugs and weapons, within the region.”
Cayman’s coast guard commander, Robert Scotland, said the mission had also served as learning opportunity for the new unit.
“The experience that was gained and the exchange of professional knowledge will help us build a professional Coast Guard that is respected within the region. We look forward to further participation in joint training exercises and operational deployments of this kind as they will only serve to help with this objective.”
Lieutenant Commander Gerard Wenk, the USCG Military Attaché in Jamaica, said cooperation between different countries was key to fighting drug trafficking in the region.
“The United States is committed to working with Jamaica and the Cayman Islands to counter transnational criminal organisations that threaten the safety and stability of Caribbean nations. The Cayman Islands have been key contributors in the fight against illicit activity in the maritime domain, and remain more than willing to assist Jamaica and the United States in fighting illicit maritime activity in the region.”
Commodore Antonette Wemyss-Gorman, Officer in charge of the JDF’s Maritime, Aviation and Cyber Command added: “Collaborations like this go a long way towards strengthening the network of law enforcement agencies against nefarious actors in our maritime space. The JDF is fully committed to the fight and looks forward to future engagements of this type.”