Officers from the Drug Enforcement Unit (DEU) seized 2,274 pounds of marijuana, with a wholesale value of $3.4 million, following a high-speed chase in the Exuma chain yesterday morning.
The pursuit began around 1 a.m. after members of Operation Bahamas Turks and Caicos (OBPAT) and the Royal Bahamas Defence Force went to Ragged Island after receiving information. While there, they saw a go-fast boat headed north at a high rate of speed, Police Commissioner Paul Rolle told the press yesterday.
The police boat was dispatched from Exuma to intercept the smugglers, Rolle said.
The smugglers were unable to outrun the police boat during the chase that lasted about an hour and 15 minutes.
In the end, police seized 52 bales of marijuana.
Rolle said, “[Police] attempted to stop this vessel and they refused to stop. They led them on a chase for roughly one hour and 15 minutes, which ended in the Barraterre area of Exuma, where the persons on this boat, loaded with contraband, rammed the police boat in an effort to escape.”
The officer sustained injuries to the neck and leg after the force of the collision knocked him from the boat, Rolle said.
In response, officers opened fire on the smugglers’ vessel, striking one of the four suspects in the upper right chest.
The wounded suspect was taken to the clinic in George Town, Exuma and later airlifted to Princess Margaret Hospital.
The injured officer, who came to New Providence on the police boat around noon Monday, was taken to hospital by ambulance.
Police brought the three uninjured suspects into New Providence with the drugs. According to Rolle, two of the suspects are known to the police.
Speaking to the connection between drug smuggling and street violence, Rolle said, “We know that a lot of the street violence is related to drug turf and if we could control the flow of drugs, then, hopefully, we’ll be able to see a reduction in street violence.”
Based on the markings on the crocus sacks, Rolle said the drugs could be linked to another drug bust off Gladstone Road a few weeks ago.
“We reported to you a few weeks ago some drugs that were seized in Gladstone Road,” Rolle said.
“Based on what we’re seeing here, it’s either the same supplier or the same purchaser.”