Haitians Seize $6.5 Million Worth of Cocaine With U.S. Help
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) _ Haitian police working with U.S. agents on Saturday seized $6.5 million worth of cocaine hidden aboard a Greek freighter and arrested the ship’s owner and crew of eight, officials said.
The drugs were found aboard the Aphormajegs, a Greek freighter sailing under a Panamanian flag, said Maj. Ramus Sainvil, head of the Haitian Narcotics Bureau. He said 950 pounds of cocaine were found hidden in small sacks in the mainmast.
″This successful operation is a joint effort of the (Haitian) government and the American Drug Enforcement Administration,″ Sainvil told The Associated Press.
He said the ship left Venezuela on Sept. 22 with a load of cement bound for Haiti and arrived in the northern port of St. Marc on Oct. 8.
The ship was not allowed to unload and on Saturday morning it was towed by a U.S. Coast Guard cutter to the Haitian navy dock yard in Port-au-Prince, Sainvil said.
″The cocaine is of high quality,″ said Walter Brown, a U.S. DEA agent based in Haiti.
The ship’s British owner, identified by police as Allen Knox, fled the vessel and was arrested in Cap Haitien Friday evening, Sainvil said. He reported the ship’s captain, who he said was a Greek citizen, is a fugitive, while eight crew members - four Chileans and four Greeks - were arrested.
In another development, the United States has granted the Haitian government $200,000 for the purchase of drug detection equipment, said Susan Clyde, director of the U.S. Information Service in Port-au-Prince.
She said two drug-detection centers would be equipped, one in Cap-Haitien on Haiti’s northern coast and another probably in the western town of Jeremie. She did not specify what kind of equipment would be provided.