US agents kill suspected smuggler off British Virgin Islands
TORTOLA, British Virgin Islands (AP) — A suspected drug smuggler was shot and killed by U.S. agents during a chase off the British Virgin Islands, officials said Monday.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection said its agents were fired upon late Sunday night in the waters of the British Caribbean territory as they chased a boat suspected of being used to transport drugs. The agents returned fire, wounding the suspect, then boarded the vessel and provided medical care, the agency said in a terse statement.
The suspect was later pronounced dead at a local hospital, according to the statement.
Two other suspects were taken into custody by the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force. They also seized the boat and 30 bales of what is believed to be cocaine.
A U.S. Customs and Border Protection spokesman declined to provide the nationalities of the suspects or to provide other details, citing an ongoing investigation. The Royal British Virgin Islands Police Force also declined to provide information beyond a brief statement confirming the incident.
U.S. anti-drug patrols can enter the waters of the British Virgin Islands, east of Puerto Rico, under a bilateral agreement between the two countries. This part of the northeastern Caribbean has seen a resurgence of drug smuggling in recent years as drug trafficking organizations seek to bypass the traditional route through Mexico to reach the United States.