Dutch naval crew seizes €60 million in drugs in Caribbean busts
The Dutch military carried out two separate operations in the Caribbean Sea over the past four days that led to the seizure of 2,600 kilograms of drugs, the military reported on Wednesday. Recent estimates suggest the drugs carry a street value of over 60 million euros in the Netherlands. Some 560 kilograms of cocaine was captured on Sunday, and 2,000 kilograms of cannabis was recovered on Tuesday, a spokesperson told NL Times.
The captures were part of a joint operation by the Dutch Navy and the Caribbean Coast Guard based with the Zr. Ms. Groningen, a Holland-class ocean-going patrol vessel. The Coast Guard notified the ship's crew on both occasions after spotting smuggling attempts using go-fast boats.
On Sunday, the navy deployed a fast interceptor boat to give chase. Warning shots were fired, but the vessel did not halt, the military said. Members of the Dutch crew then aimed their weapons at the go-fast boat’s outboard motors, and shot at them until they were no longer functioning.
The six people on the go-fast boat were taken into custody. "During the chase, the passengers threw packages of drugs overboard. They were later fished out of the water," the military said. A total of 560 kilograms of cocaine was found. Recent estimates used by the Dutch Public Prosecution Service (OM) suggest the value of the cocaine to be close to 42 million euros.
Then on Tuesday, the Coast Guard managed to detect another go-fast boat. This time, the alleged smugglers brought the boat to a halt after warning shots were fired. The number of people arrested in this incident was not immediately disclosed. A total of 2,000 kilograms of cannabis was seized. An estimate used by the OM in a separate case puts the street value of this haul at about 19 million euros.
All arrested suspects were handed over to local authorities by the Navy, and the seized drugs have since been destroyed.
For Zr. Ms. Groningen, these operations mark the completion of nine drug busts since its deployment as a station ship in the Caribbean. Since May, the vessel has been used to counter drug trafficking operations, and remains on standby for humanitarian assistance missions.
Bij twee drugsvangsten in de Caribische Zee heeft https://t.co/qYK4SyeSLO. Groningen bijna 2.600 kilo drugs onderschept. Gisteren werd ruim 2.000 kilo in beslag genomen, afgelopen zondag ging het om 560 kilo. De verdovende middelen zijn vernietigd. Meer: https://t.co/VzhYYuBs8u pic.twitter.com/ffkfTMOiFf— Ministerie van Defensie (@Defensie) August 23, 2023