United States Works to Combat Gun Trafficking in the Caribbean Region

Over the last two weeks, HSI Nassau and CBP Preclearance Nassau provided training to the Royal Bahamas Police Force Anti-Gang and Firearms Unit (AGFU) at Lynden Pindling International Airport. This is a practical exercise, not a real-life gun seizure.

The United States government does not comment on ongoing legal matters.

U.S. Embassy Nassau would like to highlight the work of the U.S. government to combat gun trafficking and violence in the Caribbean.  Over the past 12 years, the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative has devoted nearly $1 billion to programs designed to reduce illicit trafficking, increase citizen security, and prevent youth crime and violence.

We partner with law enforcement agencies across the region to take down the networks of those who profit from the illicit gun trade.  Our attachĂ©s from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) in Jamaica, The Bahamas, and Trinidad support host country investigations into firearms trafficking cases.  In collaboration with their regional counterparts from the U.S. Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) they enforce U.S. export laws and investigate firearms and ammunition smuggling operations that violate these laws.

Our collective work has yielded significant dividends, for example: 

  • In September 2022, law enforcement officers from 19 Caribbean countries along with INTERPOL, CARICOM, World Customs Organization, ATF, and HSI cooperated in a joint operation that led to the seizure of 350 weapons, 3,300 rounds of ammunition, and 10 tons of cocaine.

  • In March 2022, through Operation CITADEL, HSI deployed agents and analysts throughout the Caribbean to bolster host country firearms smuggling investigations and intelligence sharing capabilities.  These efforts and multiple coordinated international sting operations resulted in 111 firearm related seizures including 446 firearms and 188,256 rounds of ammunition.

To counter illicit arms trafficking, the CARICOM Implementation Agency for Crime and Security (IMPACS), with U.S. interagency support, inaugurated in November 2022 the Caribbean Crime Gun Intelligence Unit (CCGIU).  The CCGIUs main objective is to improve intelligence and information sharing among Caribbean and U.S. law enforcement agencies.  The CCGIU supports CARICOM member states with seizing firearms, related parts, and components as well as in identifying, charging, and prosecuting co-conspirators for firearms crimes.  The CCGIU works with U.S. and international law enforcement partners including ATF and HSI, UK National Crime Agency (NCA), INTERPOL, and the Regional Security System (RSS).

Over the past two weeks, HSI Nassau and CBP Preclearance Nassau have provided training to the Royal Bahamas Police Force Anti-Gang and Firearms Unit (AGFU) at Lynden Pindling International Airport in Nassau, Bahamas.  Two separate 16-hour training blocks provided a total of 12 participants with classroom instruction and practical experience to operate a new inspection device.  Effective utilization of this technology will help detect contraband concealed in parcels being shipped to The Bahamas and keep those guns off the streets.   AGFU participants included constables, inspectors, seamen, and officers from RBPF, Bahamas Customs, Bahamas Immigration, and Royal Bahamas Defense Force.

Our actions demonstrate the U.S. government’s commitment to helping The Bahamas and the Caribbean effectively address firearms trafficking.  We will continue our mission to remove illegal guns from the streets and work with our partners to address violent crime.

Source: U.S Embassy Press & Media Dept