Photos: Shawn Hanna/Tribune staff
A JOINT operation with police, the Royal Bahamas Defence Force, US Coast Guard and other American agencies led to the seizure of more than $3m worth of marijuana Monday.
The seizure came after drug runners led police on a high seas chase that ended off the coast of Exuma, leaving one officer in hospital with injuries after the suspects “rammed” into the police’s boat with their vessel.
Subsequently, a suspect was shot by police.
Acting on information, the joint operation was launched after 1am Monday.
A team was conducting surveillance along the Ragged Island chain, when they came upon a speed boat with four occupants on board, police said.
The vessel was asked to stop, however the captain failed to comply and a chase followed.
“The police boat was launched from Exuma to intercept this vessel which they eventually caught up with. . . they observed this vessel with four males, (police) attempted to stop this vessel and they refused to stop,” Police Commissioner Paul Rolle told reporters.
“And 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. One officer was injured in the process and he is being transported to hospital now via ambulance. He’s received injuries to the leg and neck having been knocked from the boat.
“Officers then engaged the persons in this speedboat, discharging their weapon, striking one of the individuals in the right upper chest, which was entry, exit. The driver of the boat then stopped, and along with the helicopter and the persons aboard the police boat, (officers) were able to board this vessel where we discovered some 52 crocus sacks of what we now know to be marijuana.”
The injured officer is in stable condition in hospital, the police chief said.
The suspects are Bahamian, two of whom are known to police. The injured suspect is also receiving medical attention.
Asked to comment on the connection between drug sales and street crime, Commissioner Rolle said the two are linked.
“We noticed that over the last few months because of the lockdown, things have slowed a bit and as the country opened back up so (did) our borders. The drug runners who were on their break went back to work but we are there. As it relates to the violence in the community, we know that a lot of the street violence is related to these drug turfs and if we can control the flow of drugs then hopefully we’ll be able to see a reduction in the number of street violence,” he said.