Drug boat escapes cops

| 15/04/2011

(CNS): Over 540 pounds of ganja has been recovered from the ocean following a high speed water pursuit of a suspected drug boat last night by Cayman law enforcement. At around 9:50pm on Thursday night (14 April) the joint Police, Customs and Immigration Marine Unit was on proactive patrol within Cayman’s territorial waters when officers became suspicious of a vessel. As they approached the boat to investigate it sped away at a very high speed. The Marine Unit chased after it but the boat got away. As it evaded the police, however, the crew began dumping numerous packages into the water. (Photo Courtesy of Cayman 27)

The police followed the boat into international waters in the direction of Jamaica and the Marine Unit vessel and air operations XRAY1 made efforts to interdict the suspicious drug boat, but as it left the jurisdiction the police focused their attention on recovery of the various packages that they had seen thrown overboard. As a result, several large packages were recovered from the water, which were found to contain a significant quantity of ganja.

Throughout the night Marine Unit vessels remained on the scene recovering numerous packages as well as scene preservation until daylight, when further searches were conducted by the helicopter and marine vessels. This resulted in the recovery of more packages from the sea.

Police said Friday evening that they had recovered over 540 pounds of ganja and investigations into the significant drug haul are continuing into the matter. The recovery, they said, along with other recent drug hauls had demonstrated that the combined efforts of the Marine and Air Operations units are effective in protecting the borders of the Cayman Islands.

Any persons with information relating to this criminal activity is asked to contact your local police station or the Marine/Drugs & Serious Crimes Task Force at 949 7710 or Crime Stoppers at 800-TIPS (8477). 


See police video here

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  1. Sea king says:

    The damage being done our very expensive police vessels needs to be seriously addressed by Commissioner David Baines and the individual or individuals responsibile for such damage need to be dealt with. As it is now effecting the operational ability of the Police Customs Immigration Marine unit. This has been a long standing issue and problem within the unit and a number of high ranking persons are well aware of this situation and those responsible for it. Yet they have fail to address this very serious problem.Why? This very dangerous boat chase could had a very deadly outcome putting officers lives at even higher risk than necessary.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Clearly better for the RCIPS to keep any information to themselves and not pander to the media.  Everyone is an expert, only a few get out there and do the job (or not, as clearly the armchair experts say).  Read the stories, two boatloads of drugs didn’t get here from normal patrols.   These guys appear to be doing what we have been asking them to do on this blog for months, but they may as well just keep it to themselves.  They just cannot win.


  3. Cat says:

    Well I must really commend the RCIP for their slight improvement. They were actually chasing something they could see and didn’t chase the wind after the fact. To my knowledge however, I believe the helicopter is actually armed. So my question is why not shoot the boat and sink it?. They don’t have to injure the occupants to do it. It would have given the Police boat time to catch up and apprehend the suspects and one less vessel for illegal activities would be in use. Or they could have salvaged it after sinking it and examine it and learn more about these boats,their structure,engines etc. to learn how to beat them , or modify our police boats and other vessels to out-maneuver and catch these criminals and their vessels. The RCIP should have been more aggressive with this chase, but I’m gladthey managed to recover the drugs.

    I would have also ignored the fact that they were heading into international waters. I wouldn’t have given up that easily.



    • The Royal says:

       Riiiiiiiight.   Shoot the moving boat from a helicopter without hitting anyone aboard and then try to figure out if they are actually doing something illegal enough to kill them.  Hard to believe but all those TV shows and movies are not really real life.  You in charge of a police operation is like bush in charge of the Government.  OOOps my point just went over your head right?

    • Anonymous says:

      Putting a big hole through an engine or two usually slows a boat down and this can be accomplished nicely with a gyroscopically stabilized 50 calibre gun. They are used elsewhere to prevent drug runners from disappearing. Does anyone know if our copter carries something of that sort?

  4. Anonymous says:

    Two stories mixed as one here??  I have just watched the C27 stories, and if I am right, the video is from another bust, not the story above??  CNS have said below that they are only reporting the press release, but C27 seem to have more?  Just thought I’d point this out. 

    Perhaps CNS you could ask RCIPS for comments on the points raised below. 

    CNS: We have asked the RCIPS to clarify and are waiting for the response.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Funny thing about Cayman.  Everyone knows how to do anything better then those who are doing it and yet just about anything that you need done on island is usually screwed up for stupid reasons.  Look at just about anything the Government has TRIED to get done.  Cayman loves to talk the talk but just can’t seem to walk right.

  6. Fish Tea says:

    Clearly from the video the vessel has a small single engine not a huge powerful outboard as we have been led to believe yet it was able to out maneuver out run and evade the much touted High Speed Pursuit vessels & Helo not to mention highly equipped they have paid sooo much money to obtain. Taking into consideration that it was heavily laden with both Fuel and over 540lbs Drugs.This speaks directly to the quality and ability of captains & crew now manning such vessels, who obviously could take quite a few lessons from this drug smuggling vessel’s captain.Congrats to CNS for calling as it is and not prettying up. I would like to give a huge Big Up to the old DTF marine boys. We miss you guys on the water

  7. nauticalone says:

    How did the Police chopper and Marine Unit lose the boat?

    Why not follow and also call for more/other including Regional assistance?

  8. Anonymous says:

    The RCIP’s should have bought a refurbished "Blackhawk" helicopter from the United States fitted out with the usual heat trace weapon. That boat would of never returned thus, deterring others from the same smuggling acts.

  9. Anonymous says:

    I despair…how do you get close enough to video the boat from a helicopter, but the boat still gets away. This is either massive incompetence or something much worse…

    • Anonymous says:

       It is probably something much worse such as you have no idea what it would take to stop a boat from a helicopter or track it all the way back to where ever it came from.  Try it sometime.  Incompetence has a whole different meaning on Cayman.

  10. Scrooge McDuck says:

    For all we know, this drug "canoe" may very well have been powered by a Donzi engine.  540 lbs. of ganja is a lot of ganja. And it’s just one shipment. Out of how many? Either Cayman has some serious smokers or this shipment was meant for elsewhere after leaving….Jam?  And how would it do that?  Private jet? Just surmising.

  11. Anonymous says:

    CNS, the Cayman 27 news story has two different drugs busts, you seem to be mixing the two up here with the video and the news text.  Can you clarify please?

    CNS: This article is based on a police press release about a single incident.

  12. Anonymous says:

    I dont get it…..How about you tell them to STOP and if they dont SHOOT them to ras!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Anonymous says:

      shoot um for what?…for some ganja…dem need fi legalize it…da wa happen to cayman now quick to grab up somebody for some weed but all now dey cant solve 1 murder…dey need shoot you…you a BABYLON…

  13. Anonymous says:

     why are these  marine officers not out on the waters EVERY NIGHT, a lot of guns and drugs would not enter these islands if they would be on patrol every night..furthermore how did those small boats escape *confused*  

    • Sad but true says:

      To put it simply why there are not more patrols with the MANY vessels that the RCIPS has is due to the fact that only one works.

      The others have been destroyed at the hands of Caymanian and EXPAT crew members who work these vessels.

      The Niven D is the only functioning vessel that they have, and even though it has 4 Mercury engines, its is a slow heavy boat.

      The PROTECTOR is finished as she has been sitting at the marina for years. The other 38 footer sits with damaged engines, which goes back to Paloma. Was that ’08? The 65 footer Guardian leaks fuel as it lost a prop due to a collision with the sea bed leaving Govenors Harbour. The inflatable hull is flat, the other with 4 engines, at least 2 engines are destroyed.

      Simply put, where is the accountantability with regards to these vessels.

      The helicopter has yet to help solve/prevent a crime, or provide a rescue….. Wrong tool for the job.

      • Sodium Amytal says:

        Finally!!!!!  I was wondering how long it would take for the truth to come out. Her are a few more facts in regards to this story.

        The reason why the drug laden boat in the video was able to get away was because the helicopter descended almost on top of the boat causing the smugglers to become aware they were being tracked. Why would the  helo crew do something so stupid knowing that the Marine Unit was still miles away and not in a position to give chase and apprehend them? Two reasons- incompetence or by design. We have been told that the helicopter is equipped with hi tech thermal imaging and infrared cameras capable of gathering intelligence and evidence from many miles away. Having this type of very expensive equipment at their disposal, why in the world would they place themselves in a position that not only jeopardised the whole operation, but in the end, can be blamed for hundreds if not thousands of pounds of drugs (ganja &/or cocaine) being thrown overboard, and will in time be either washed ashore somewhere or picked up by other boaters. Regardless of what the press release from the RCIP says, drugs packaged like those DO NOT SINK, and that is a fact. If that was the case, why then did the Marine Officers stay on scene all night recovering the packages from the other screw up.

        It is hard to say how much drugs were dumped overboard, but one thing is for sure. If the great "Air Support" crew didn’t show their incompetence, the Marine Unit stood a good chance of making a good seizure and taking a large amount of drugs and drug smugglers out of the system. That seizure might have been the moral booster needed to motivate the few officers left there that care.

        Sometime i wonder if it isn’t mandated that things must be done, policies put in place and officers re-assigned so the remaining "Caymanian" Officers will become ineffective and fed up so they can be replaced by "experienced" officers from the UK. Every unit and section of the Police is now commanded by a UK officer except the Marine Unit, but unfortunately this too will soon change. I find it extremely disrespectful and stupid for Caymanian Officers who have many years of experience to be overlooked for promotion in areas in which they have, in most cases, almost a lifetime of experience and skill,  only to be replaced by someone who has absolutely no knowledge, experience or skill in that section.

        It is true that out of 6 patrol vessels only one is operational. Unfortunately most of the damage to the vessels can be attributed to operator error which is a direct result of inexperience and incompetence. The mechanical problems in a sense can also be attributed to incompetence because those tasked with overseeing the selection, construction and outfitting of the vessels were also in a way, clueless.

        540lbs of Ganja has been recovered, but in reality that is not a large shipment. A typical load for transhipment to the U.S. is normally 1500+lbs so it is possible the 540 was just for local consumption. If that was the case, then it is great that it was recovered and will not end up on the street. Although these two incidents are big news now it does not mean that this is something new or an isolated incident. If the truth was known, i’m sure we would be shocked to realize how often this type of activity takes place. Remember, just because a crime goes undetected or is not reported doesn’t mean it was not committed…

  14. Michel Lemay says:

    To the CNS team . I think that what you have created is a wonderful tool for everyone, so that we may be kept informed on what is happening and not being kept it the dark or listen to rumours. To you many bloggers thank you for your thumps up and down. We can all agree to disagree and that is good. Please keep it that way and try your best to respect each other both Caymanians and Expats. Get to know each other a little better as there are many great people on both side and unity will get you much more positive results. I understand that a blog is an opinion and like a belly button everyone as one. The reason for my taking a break for a while is I want to concentrate more on becoming a better person AND most important my last blog last night I was tempted to sign Anonymous. That is not who I am or who I want to become. My sincere apologies if I offended some of you and I am happy if I was able to express myself in a manner you enjoyed. Peace and Love and may God continue to Bless you all and our Beloved Cayman Islands. Nicky, Wendy and Doreen and support , thanks again. Michel Lemay

  15. Anonymous says:

    Is there a reason why after the fact that the location around Grand Cayman where this drug interdiction occurred was not identified?

    I thought "where" was one of the contributing factors in making a complete news story.

  16. Natural Mystic says:

    so no brownies this weekend then huh?

  17. Anonymous says:

     They Spoke too soon!  

  18. Anonymous says:

    Well done the RCIPS chopper and marine unit.  There are less drugs and perhaps firearms on the island because of this.

     One question for CNS which is the view of many I have spoken to.  As with some previous crime articles, why is it that when a more positive and accurate headline is available CNS opts for the most negative?  In this story, which is a resounding success for the RCIPS and the people of the island, as opposed to the headline ‘Drug Shipment Intercepted by Cops’ the headline reads ‘Drug Boat Escapes Cops’.  You have to read the detail to realise this is a good news story.  A genuine question hoping for an honest response.

    CNS: 1. There is nothing remotely inaccurate about the headline. It is not less accurate than your suggestion.

    2. In our opinion, the most newsworthy point to make after a high speed chase in pursuit of drug smugglers is whether or not they were caught. Unfortunately, in this case they got away – which means they may well be back. The fact that a large amount of drugs was recovered is certainly significant, which is reflected in our choice of opening lines. However, we are not a public relations firm but a news organisation. Therefore we are going to choose the most newsworthy angle and not the one the RCIPS would most like us to use. However you spin it, they got away.

    3. (This is not an explanation of the angle taken but something to note.) The headline must fit the space available.

    • Just Commentin' says:

      Well done? Well done???!!!! In the words of John McEnroe “You cannot be serious!”

      Well done?? Did you bother to read the article? The drug suppliers got away for chrissake! You call this “well done”? No bloody wonder these islands are in such a serious mess: people like you consider failure to be a “resounding success”!

      “Success” would have entailed capturing the smugglers. Or am I missing something here. Helloooo!!!??? The criminals got away. (You did get this, right?) They escaped. Vanished into the night. They eluded the marine unit and the big-bux chopper. So who won this point? I score it Smugglers 1 – RCIPS Nil.

      Oh yeah, they smugglers lost some drugs. Big deal. Like any business, in the drug trade losses are reckoned a part of the cost of doing business. I doubt this is a significant blow. I doubt that anyone who wants to fire up a fatty this weekend is going to find his favourite smoke in short supply because some bales were chucked overboard by the drug boat. As for firearms…uh…who said anything about firearms anyway?

      Suppose some criminals break into your house, steal your stuff, terrorise and wound you and/or members of your family. Suppose that as the robbers depart, the RCIPS pursues them, chasing them out of your yard and the neighbourhood. The criminals drop some of the stolen items as they flee, but they get a lead on the cops, so the cops give up pursuit and focus on picking up some of the stuff the criminals dropped as they fled. The criminals escape into the night and they are free to come back – emboldened actually because they are 1-0 against the police. I guess you would say that RCIPS racked up a “resounding success”, huh?

      When you pay a company for goods or services, do you consider it money well spent as long as the business in question really, really, really tries hard and makes an effort to deliver what you paid for? Is it a resounding success if the company truck just drives by your house and waves? Yup. That’s close enough for you. It’s a job “well done”, thanks!

      Do you run a business? If so I need to be working for you. I will no longer have to produce results. I will be a resounding success in my job by merely trying and failing.

      I really do not know what to say.

      In the world I live in – you know, the real world – most of us get paid on results, not effort. If I do not deliver, I will not get paid. CNB does not credit my account on “almost” or “best effort”.

      The “genuine question hoping for an honest response” is: Why the hell didn’t the cops catch the smugglers? With the (only-god-knows-how-many million dollar) chopper on the scene – the machine that was touted as being so perfect for just such a scenario when it was bought – I would expect for the smugglers to be sitting behind bars. What happened?

      I think CNS were overly gracious in their approach to the story. In the games I play, coming close to scoring a point is, at best. greeted by, “Nice try, mate, better luck next time”. When someone really bumbles up, it is more like: “You bloody wanker! What the hell were you thinking?”

      Here are my headlines:
      “Latest score: Smugglers 1 – Chopper 0”.
      My lead lines of the story:
      “In a heated test of the RCIPS helicopter’s ability to interdict drug smugglers on the high seas, RCIPS Sky Raiders came up short of scoring a goal last night. In a tense nighttime game of Catch the Smugglers, it was Smugglers 1 – Chopper 0, as a boat laden with ganga proved too elusive to be taken down. RCIPS were left wallowing in Smugglers’ wake, remaining in defeat to clean up the field. It is a case of case of ‘eye in the sky turns pie in the sky’ as observers are left wondering if the people of the Cayman Islands were sold ‘snake oil’ when the purchase of the pricey chopper was being considered. One of the prime uses touted for the Two-Million-Dollar-Helo was nighttime aerial interdiction of drug smugglers. On the heels of this latest RCIPS failure to score against Smugglers, the question on the minds of RCIPS critics is ‘What the hell happened?’ Some optimistic fans have been heard to quip ‘Good, oh, mates! At least ya shook ’em a bit!”‘

      Your proposed headline is potentially misleading. ‘Drug Shipment Intercepted by Cops’ can lead one to infer that the entire payload of drugs was jettisoned. It could be that the boat just needed to lighten the load enough to get away. Since the RCIPS failed to capture the boat, we will never know. The term”intercepted” is too aggressive and pro-active to be applied here. Ultimately, the cops were relegated to the passive chore of picking up flotsam.

      Ok, how do you like these headlines: “Drugs Left Floating as Smugglers Escape”? Or maybe “Smugglers Shaken Up by RCIPS”

      Yeah. Resounding success! Shake ’em up a bit. Well done! Northward prison is too crowded anyway.

  19. My2cents says:

     Shame the cops in the chopper were not armed…that would have stopped the boat

  20. Anonymous says:

    What took so long to deploy the helicopter? The helicopter should have already been on active patrol in order to immeditely join pursuit and assist in stopping the "Ganja Boat" for apprehension before reaching international waters. Those ganja dealers will be back, rest assured!

  21. Anonymous says:

    A real concern for me in reading this article is the large amount of money involved in this level of smuggling which would not stop at bribing the necessary people to assure their drug shipment made it to their intended destination.

    It puzzles me that they escaped…

  22. Anonymous says:

    Maybe one of the billionaires buying up the islands might like to dig into his pockets and buy the RCIPS a 7.62mm minigun for the chopper – that would stop them. LOL!!!!!

    • Swine says:

      Are you crazy???!! That would definately make the chopper a complete waste, not only a complaint for the public to bash on, as they will certainly shoot themselves out of the sky!

  23. Sour grapes says:

     Yes just another failure in the long line of almost.I would have kept this under wraps but it appears they are so starved for media attention and to prove their bogus border protection strategy is working so hard they can’t even intercept a drug canoe.These guys have more equipment than quakers have oats. Proactive hahahahaha yeah rightooooo 540lbs in 5 years thats a " major score". This is what happens when you have top cops running da show along with their loyal stooges. These folks destroyed a working and effective drugs task force to replace with this.Please make sure these recovered drugs are secured and destroyed immediately so that we don’t have innocent people getting hurt or going missing.

  24. Anonymous says:

    Respect! Michel.

    Signed ‘Anonymous’ for a reason

  25. Anonymous says:


    Is a link for two of the stories with video from the chopper.  Wow, someone’s hurting.

  26. Lachlan MacTavish says:

     A question, would not this amount be for trans shipment and if so where is it going, Cuba, USA ???

    • Anonymous says:

      And who the hell cares where it is going – its illegal. And why would you say its not staying here – we have alot of weed heads you know.

    • Anonymous says:

      I’m sure someone in the Cayman Islands government knows.


  27. Michel Lemay says:

    Well at least some weed and guns, I am sure did not make it to our shores. I still stay well done to all dept. involved(custom, immigration,police and air support) and now I hope we realized that we are not to take these people lightly.
    To catch a criminal you have to think like one. Or even consider hiring reformed ones, and let’s admit it CRIMES of many different nature are still there and some waiting to happen.
    And I would update my intelligence gathering because very often you are told only what they want you to know. Again however if we the people stay in our shells, hide in the closet or just say it ain’t my problem, well guess what next time might be your turn and then wish someone was covering your back.
    As you all notice I am a little tired of the all talk, no action, no names,the anonymous for no reason and you know what? Very often we are blaming our politicians, our law enforcement. our expats,our caymanians and everybody and their first cousin.
    I believe that it’s high time we all take a good look in the mirror and see if we like what we see or have become so complecent that we can’t even recognise who we are because WE KNOW WE CAN ALL DO BETTER. God Bless and please don’t give up on our youths, they are our future.