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Joint U.S.-Bahamian Patrols Arrest 58, Seize Tons of Drugs

April 20, 1985|Associated Press

MIAMI — Hundreds of roving officers set up "pickets" around 30 islands in the Bahamas, arresting 58 persons and seizing more than $100 million worth of cocaine and marijuana in 17 days, officials said Friday.

The project, called Operation Blue Lightning, ended Thursday and netted 5,500 pounds of cocaine and 33,872 pounds of marijuana, said Coast Guard Adm. Rick Cueroni, coordinator of the federal anti-drug South Florida Task Force.

By comparison, an average of about a ton of cocaine was seized in the entire United States during each of the first three months of 1985, Cueroni said.

Bahamian and U.S. Coast Guard vessels formed "pickets," surrounding 30 selected islands and maintained roving patrols in and around Bahamian waters, he said.

Bahamian personnel were placed on U.S. Coast Guard vessels to enforce their national laws against smuggling. Bahamian authorities with U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration advisers were flown on U.S. aircraft to conduct searches of possible drug cache sites.

The operation did not come as a complete surprise to drug smugglers because someone leaked information, Cueroni said.

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