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Officers of the Royal Bahamas Police Force Drug Enforcement Unit seized an estimated $1.1 million worth of suspected cocaine from a freighter in waters off Abaco earlier this month. Seven Haitian nationals were taken into custody in connection with the seizure. Photo: Ahvia J. Campbell.

$1 Million of Cocaine Seized Off Abaco

Seven men were charged on March 7 in connection with a $1.1 million cocaine seizure after they were arrested on March 2 in waters off South Abaco.

Alston Raymond, 58; Wilser Lafrance, 42; Bertrand Predestin, 54; Richard Fortiulien, 44; Jeanty Valerice, 28; Romane Petit-Frere; and Jean Benjamin, 43, denied charges of drug possession with intent to supply, drug importation and conspiracy to commit the offenses at their arraignment before Magistrate Andrew Forbes.

As the magistrate did not have the jurisdiction to consider bail, they were remanded into custody until their trial on April 21.

On the scene, Chief Superintendent of the DEU Samuel Butler said, “This operation spanned over a 24-hour period where we were conducting surveillance from the southern Bahamas to the northern Bahamas.

Butler said that someone on the boat started to jettison packages into the sea. Police seized 219 pounds, or 99.5 kilos of cocaine, with a wholesale street value of $1.1 million.

The boat and suspects were towed to New Providence that night at the Police Marine Base on East Bay Street.

Mr. Butler said “In the very early morning, we were able to intercept a 90-foot steel freighter with the seven occupants on board.

“As we intercepted, a suspect began to eject a number of packages into the water.

“They were collected, examined and we determined that they were cocaine.

“Further examination determined that it was some 77 packages weighing some 219 lbs.

“We estimate the street value of the cocaine to be at $1.1 million.

“I’m happy that our partnership with the drug enforcement agencies and local police in Abaco, by all of us working together, we were able to make this operation a success.”

Butler said the vessel was known to police.

It frequently commuted between Haiti, through Inagua and the northern Bahamas,” he said.

About Timothy Roberts

Timothy had his first venture into Journalism just months after graduating from Queen’s College in Nassau taking his first job with The Tribune in 1991 leaving in 1992 for other pursuits.

During his time in Nassau he diversified his experiences working as a warehouse manager, locksmith and computer technician before returning to Abaco, a place he has always considered home, in 1999.

He joined the staff of The Abaconian in 2001 doing graphic design and writing an opinion article called Generally Speaking and after a brief time away, returned to The Abaconian in 2010 as a reporter, graphic designer and computer technician.

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