By MORGAN ADDERLEY
Tribune Staff Reporter
SEIZURES of marijuana increased by more than 300 percent last year when compared with 2016, according to Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF) narcotic statistics. Cocaine seizures have declined by 41 percent during the same period.
Overall, police seized more than 36,000 pounds of drugs, 300 illegal weapons and 9,000 rounds of ammunition.
The major drugs seized by the Drug Enforcement Unit (DEU) were cocaine, hashish, marijuana, and marijuana plants.
The report also revealed that most drugs were found on Family Islands.
The breakdown is as follows: Of the 17,634.74 pounds of marijuana seized in 2017, 13,164.54lbs were found in the Family Islands, 3,472.97lbs in New Providence, and 997.23lbs in Grand Bahama.
This is a major jump from 2016, when police seized 4,077.52lbs of marijuana across the nation and represents a 332 percent increase.
Of the 2,075.59 pounds of cocaine seized, 1,083.74lbs were found in Grand Bahama, 860.58lbs on Family Islands, and 131.27 pounds were found on New Providence.
This illustrates a decline from 2016, when police said a total of 3,531.77lbs of cocaine were confiscated.
Of the 16,242 marijuana plants discovered in 2017, 14,378 plants were in Family Islands, 1,501 plants were in Grand Bahama, and 363 plants were found on New Providence.
All 56 lbs of hashish found in the country were discovered in Grand Bahama, with one additional gram taken from a Family Island.
Unlike 2016, no ecstasy finds were recorded in the 2017 statistics.
Overall, there were 1,457 drug cases in the Bahamas in 2017. A total of 1,693 people were arrested.
Police reported 1,460 people were arrested for marijuana — 838 for possession, 605 for possession with intent to supply, and 17 for marijuana plants. One hundred and four people were arrested for cocaine — 41 for possession and 63 for possession with intent to supply.
Eighty-two persons were arrested for possession of cocaine and marijuana, and 45 people were arrested and questioned in reference to dangerous drugs - but not charged.
Of the total number of persons arrested, 63 were juveniles - 34 of these youths were charged.
In terms of firearms, the RBPF seized 327 weapons in 2017. The majority of these were pistols (252), and other weapons included shotguns, rifles, revolvers, and one imitation firearm.
Police said 9,183 rounds of ammunition were also seized. Of these, 224 were surrendered ammunition and 8,959 were illegal.
The months with the highest amounts of weapons seizures were January (36), March (35), October (34), and May (30).