THE HAGUE, Apr 19 2017 – Two shipments of cocaine totalling close to 700 kilogrammes were intercepted by the Royal Dutch Navy in the Caribbean, last week.
The Ministry of Defense in the Netherlands on Tuesday reported that the navy station ship – Zr. MS. Van Amstel was patrolling as part of an exercise near Curaçao when it received the first report on a suspect motorboat, a so-called go-fast, north of Colombia’s territorial waters.
The Ministry says a helicopter was deployed when the navy multi-purpose frigate got close enough to detect the exact location of the go-fast vessel and with the assistance of the helicopter, inflatable boats of the Van Amstel were sent out with a boarding team of the United States Coast Guard.
The report states that upon detection, persons on board proceeded to throw the narcotics overboard.
Ten packages were collected from the sea, while another three were found in the go-fast. The packages contained about 325 kilogrammes of cocaine.
The three-crew members of the go-fast were arrested.
Shortly after, a Dash-8 surveillance plane of the Dutch Caribbean Coast Guard reported that it had observed another suspect vessel.
In this instance, a helicopter was again deployed. However, the vessel ignored the stop signals by the helicopter crew and was forced to stop with warning shots.
On the vessel, the law enforcement detachment of the US Coast Guard found 15 packages with cocaine, weighing about 350 kilogrammes.
The suspects on both vessels and the confiscated drugs were transferred to a US Coast Guard ship.
The Van Amstel carries out operations in the Caribbean Sea as part of the permanent multi-national anti-narcotics operation led by the Joint Inter-agency Task Force South.
Dutch Minister of Security and Justice Stef Blok made mention of the double action of the Van Amstel during the weekly question hour in the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament on Tuesday.
Blok suggested that the Royal Dutch Navy was doing good work to help stem the transport of narcotics from the “source,” South America.
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