|Cuban Authorities have Seized 1.44 Tons of Drugs in 2012
2012.06.27 - 10:51:42 / firstname.lastname@example.org
HAVANA, Cuba.- The Cuban Interior Ministry announced on Tuesday the seizure, over the past six months, of 1.44 tons drugs, mostly in packages that washed up off Cuban coasts.
An article on Granma newspaper cites statements by the head of the National Anti-Drug Department at the Interior Ministry, Colonel Domingo Ibañez, who explained that most of the drug consisted of Marihuana packages that washed up ashore after having been tossed on Caribbean waters by drug dealers, in an effort to avoid controls by authorities or for their further collection.
Aside from the 1.41 tons seized on the sea, 24 drug-smuggling operations were thwarted in airports, particularly related to cocaine, the colonel told Prensa Latina news agency during a meeting with reporters at the building hosting the Ministry of Justice, on June 26, marking International Day against Drugs.
In 2011, Cuba seized 9.1 tons of drugs and thwarted 22 drug trafficking operations at local airports, following actions by the General Customs Office, which counts on modern equipment for this activity, said the Colonel.
However, only 103 kilograms of drugs have been seized inside Cuban territory, which reveals the effectiveness of current controls in the country, Colonel Ibañes pointed out.
The Interior Ministry official said that Cuba counts on a system of ministries and efficient cooperation among state agencies, which is in tune with the political will of the Cuban government to strongly fight drug trafficking. However, the role being played by the population is significant in this respect, since it is marked by strong rejection and the fight against drugs, he noted.
For instance, a force made up of citizens of different ages, grouped in brigades, maintain permanent surveillance of Cuban coasts to detect any drug packages that may wash up, the colonel explained.
The official also told foreign reporters accredited in Cuba that there has been a growing tendency in the number of attempts to smuggle drug into what he called an incipient local market through the airports.
This incipient market, he noted, is characterized by very high prices given its scarce offer, and this is taken advantage of by people with no qualms at all, who try to get benefits by smuggling drugs brought from abroad.
The Cuban official discarded any links between such failed drug operations and the existence, on the island, of any criminal organizations, as these groups are called in other Latin American and Caribbean countries.
“There are no drug cartels or mafias in Cuba; we cannot speak of them, because they simply do not exist here,” he pointed out.
The high-ranking Interior Ministry official stressed the severe sanctions stipulated by the Cuban law against drug crime by affirming that drug trafficking in Cuba is strongly punished, while drug consumers are considered patients and victims of that scourge, so their social rehabilitation is at the center of local efforts.