U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

Smugglers Paradise: Cocaine Trafficking Through the Bahamas

NCJ Number
Crime, Law and Social Change Volume: 16 Issue: 1 Dated: special issue (July 1991) Pages: 59-83
B Bullington
Date Published
25 pages
During the last two decades, the Bahamas have assumed a central role in the transshipment of illicit drugs into the United States.
It seems likely that the Bahamian role in drug trafficking can largely be attributed to two factors, geography and the growth in tourism. The Bahamas have repeatedly been implicated in the smuggling of cocaine and marijuana to U.S. consumers. Drug transshipment methods are fluid; they allow for quick adjustments to compensate for the disruptions caused by U.S. interdiction efforts. The island of Bimini is cited as an example of how corrupt Bahamian institutions have become. Police figures for the 1978-1983 period indicate regular annual increases in the number of drug arrests on Bimini, but the level of official involvement in drugs continues. Drug smuggling also occurs on Norman's Cay which is a popular haven for vacationers. The Colombian group of Carlos Lehder has been particularly active on Norman's Cay. Reasons why the United States has done relatively little to curb the blatant participation of Bahamian officials and illicit groups in drug trafficking, in contrast to the invasion of Panama, are discussed. It is argued that traditional U.S. fears of communist expansion in the western hemisphere and fear of militarization in the region in the name of the drug war may partially explain U.S. reluctance to become more involved. 49 notes (Author abstract modified)