Attacking high-tech drug-trafficking operations that mimic the structure of Fortune 500 companies, federal agents say they have cut the flow of cocaine into the U.S. by 10 percent by choking off key smuggling routes in the Caribbean, the Miami Herald reports. More than 50 people were indicted yesterday in Miami oncharges that they shipped cocaine from Colombia through Caribbean countries into South Florida. The indictments culminated a five-year investigation that had resulted in more than 330 arrests and the seizure of 26,000 kilos of cocaine and $85 million in laundered money.
The smugglers moved the drugs from Jamaica, the Bahamas, and the Dominican Republic in vessels ranging from high-powered go-fast boats to modest fishing crafts. Attorney General John Ashcroft praised the “united effort to close the Caribbean corridor to drugs” by various federal agencies and the governments of Colombia, Jamaica, the Bahamas, Dominican Republic, Panama and Canada. Until their cooperation, an estimated 94 tons of cocaine flowed from Colombia through the Caribbean every year, he said. The massive undercover operations cut that amount by a third, Ashcroft said. The two investigations involved in yesterday’s indictments were named Operation Busted Manatee and Operation Double Talk.