1.44 tons of
drugs seized this year
HAVANA.—In the first five months of
2012, Cuban authorities seized 1.44 tons of
narcotics, in their majority drops, according to
Colonel Domingo Ibáñez, chief of the National Anti-Drugs
The largest percentage of the haul
is marihuana, in the form of consignments thrown
into the Caribbean and washed ashore after being
dropped overboard by drug traffickers, either to
avoid controls or to be retrieved later.
"Of the total seized, 1.41 tons
correspond to drops, while we have frustrated 24
operations in border areas, particularly related to
cocaine," the Ministry of the Interior official told
Prensa Latina during a meeting with journalists at
the Ministry of Justice, marking World Day against
Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking.
In 2011, Cuba seized 9.1 tons of
narcotics and averted 22 drug trafficking operations
at its airports, where the Customs Office has modern
equipment, he noted.
Ibáñez stated that barely 103
kilograms of drugs have been detected within
national territory in the last 17 months, which
demonstrates the effectiveness of existing controls.
"Here there is a ministerial system
and a high degree of cooperation among state
agencies, which responds to the political will of
our government to combat the scourge of drug
trafficking," he affirmed.
The senior official also highlighted
the role of the population, characterized by a
rejection of drugs and Cubans’ active participation
in confronting illicit trafficking.
In the case of drops, a force
composed of citizens of all ages and known as "Detachments
on sea watch," daily supervise the island’s coasts
for washed up drug consignments.
Taking to members of the foreign
press accredited in Cuba, Ibáñez commented on the
increasing trend of cases intercepted on the
country’s borders with a view to the internal market.
This incipient market has as a
peculiarity high prices, given the lack of supply,
which prompts unscrupulous persons to seek high
profits by smuggling in drugs from abroad, he
Ibáñez discounted any relation in
these cases with the presence of organized crime on
the island, like the criminal gangs which dominate
drug trafficking in various Latin American and
"There are no drug cartels or
Mafiosi in Cuba; we cannot talk about this because
they do not exist," he confirmed.
The Ministry of the Interior chief
also emphasized existing severe sanctions for drug
trafficking crimes in Cuba.
"Here, the trafficking of narcotics
is rigorously sanctioned, but when it is about
consumers, we consider these persons as patients and
victims of the scourge and our efforts are focused
on their social reinsertion, he noted. (PL)