Eastern Caribbean branded a transit point for drug traffickers by US
The US State Department says the eastern Caribbean hosts abundant transhipment points for illicit narcotics.
WASHINGTON – The Eastern Caribbean has been branded a “transit point for drug traffickers going to the United States and Europe” by the US State Department.
The department’s International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR), released this month, claims that the Eastern Caribbean hosts abundant transhipment points for illicit narcotics, primarily from Venezuela destined for North American, European and domestic Caribbean markets.
According to the report, marijuana remains the most commonly used illicit drug within the region and many of the homicides in the seven countries occur as a result of turf wars between factions fighting for control of drug distribution.
The report named St Vincent as a primary source for cannabis in the Eastern Caribbean.
Data provided to the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) indicates that, during the first nine months of last year, drug seizures in the Eastern Caribbean totalled 196.65 metric tons of marijuana and 1,103.8 kg of cocaine, along with 159 drug trafficking-related arrests.
According to the State Department, law enforcement capacity in the region is under increasing stress and, while Eastern Caribbean governments made some improvements, their criminal codes remained antiquated.
The US encouraged the seven countries to continue to pass legislation to modernize their criminal codes, making use of regional best practices in fighting transnational organized crime.
The US asserted that “in some countries, leaders failed to address public concerns about official corruption,” compounding the problem.
The INSCR nevertheless pointed out that: “As a matter of policy, the region’s governments do not encourage or facilitate the illicit production or distribution of narcotic or psychotropic drugs or other controlled substances, or the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions.
“No senior government officials in the Eastern Caribbean were prosecuted for engaging in or facilitating the illicitproduction or distribution of controlled drugs or laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions.
“Nonetheless, many observers believe that drug trafficking organizations sometimes elude law enforcement through bribery, influence, or coercion.”