Is Florida in the Crosshairs of Drug Cartels Once Again?



drug The discoveries of large drug shipments on submarines and fast boats in the Caribbean support the conclusion that South and Central American drug cartels are once again pointing their drug trafficking efforts at Florida.

Recent events have spurred concerns that Florida may once again become the target of Central or South American drug trafficking groups. Heightened drug trafficking activity in the Caribbean Sea and in the Dominican Republic point at the possibility that drug cartels are reclaiming their old trafficking channels and bringing their customary violence with them.

In the 1970s and 1980s, Florida was a high profile target for South American cocaine manufacturers. Their trafficking activities were dramatized in the television series „Miami Vice.” Many tons of cocaine were moved into the Miami area, often by way of go-fast boats, speedboats designed purely for high rates of travel.

As time went on, law enforcement pressure forced cartels to move their main channels to Tijuana. When turf wars there result in major personnel and product losses, those channels moved to El Paso and then on to barren stretches of Arizona.

As law enforcement activities follow the cartels around, the cartels adjust their routes to maximize profits. With tremendous drug interdiction resources focused on the Mexican border, it may be a logical move to brush off the old Caribbean route charts and resume those Eastern operations.

In the last several weeks, events are directing attention to this region:

The first-ever Colombian drug trafficking submarine was found in the Caribbean Sea. More than 15,000 pounds of cocaine were recovered from the sub after the crew sank the vessel.

Late in 2011, a surface boat was intercepted off the Dominican Republic with $13 million in marijuana aboard. In October 2011, a partly-finished submarine was found on the east coast of Colombia. The construction site, near Cordoba on the northern coast, was the first one found on the Caribbean side of the continent. All others have been on the west side where they would ply the Eastern Pacific to move drugs into Mexico. From there, they would be moved across the border into the US. January 2012, the Drug Enforcement Administration announced the seizure of 924 pounds of cocaine from a boat approaching the shores of Puerto Rico.

Islands like Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic are perfect for South American cartels who want a relay point for drugs headed for the US or Europe. In February 2012, various news sources carried reports that US drug enforcement analysts were predicting further expansion of these Gulf Coast routes. Part of the data examined by these analysts includes evidence that the Sinaloa Cartel may be largely responsible for expansion of the Caribbean channels. Homicide rates in the Caribbean have been high overall for some years, but have recently increased in the Dominican Republic and the Bahamas. Jamaica has been referred to as the „Murder Capital of the Caribbean” and drug trafficking is thought to be largely responsible.

„Law enforcement efforts are necessary to seize as much as possible of the drugs coming into this country,” stated Clark Carr, president of Narconon International, an organization that is dedicated to the elimination of substance abuse and addiction. „But these efforts will never, by themselves, end the drug abuse and addiction problem in this country, Europe, Australia or anywhere else. Only thorough drug education of young people coupled with effective drug rehabilitation of those trapped in addiction can bring to bear the full resources needed to end the problem.”

Mr. Carr confirmed that the Narconon drug and alcohol rehabilitation program offered in three Florida locations offer relief from addiction that could result from drugs traveling through the area. „Any area used for transport always has a larger supply of illicit drugs and therefore needs ample drug rehab services,” he said. „The Narconon facilities in Destin, Spring Hill and Clearwater are helping those who have been trapped in their addiction to resume productive drug-free lives once again. Seven out of ten Narconon graduates stay sober after they go home, one of the best success rates in the field.”

Narconon volunteers also visit schools in Florida to provide accurate information about the dangers of drug use to young people who will need to make healthy choices when faced with drug use by their peers.

„I have tremendous respect for the Coast Guard, DEA, local law enforcement and other agencies that confront and fight this deadly problem,” Mr. Carr concluded. „We are proud to offer our services too, to make a safer, healthier environment for all Florida residents.”

For information on Narconon and its drug rehabilitation program, contact the international offices of Narconon at 1-877-775-8750.