Cuba’s Vigorous Drug Interdiction Efforts Yield Over Two Tons Seized in 2023

Cuba seizes drugs

Cuba’s law enforcement agencies have reported the seizure of a substantial quantity of narcotics, tipping the scales at over two metric tons (2,290.6 kg) in the first nine months of the current year.

A combined total of 1,226 individuals, including 1,213 Cubans and 13 foreigners, have been processed for drug trafficking offenses, as confirmed by the Ministry of the Interior (Minint) on Thursday.

Major Seizures and Border Control

The bulk of the seizures were made at sea, with 245 drug hauls comprising 1,052 kg of marijuana, 548.2 kg of cocaine, and 155.21 kg of hashish.

Additionally, Cuban authorities took part in two significant international narcotics operations which netted 372 kg of drugs and led to the arrest of four individuals.

Collaboration with the U.S. Coast Guard also brought a separate bust.

Combating Drug Trafficking and Enhancing Security

Cuban forces faced 19 incidents of drug parcel thefts along the nation’s coastlines, resulting in 32.8 kg of narcotics being confiscated and 33 arrests.

At the Cuban airports, 91 individuals were detained and 44.96 kg of various drugs were seized.

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Since July, Cuban Customs has heightened their efforts to counter attempts to smuggle drugs into the country. This includes strategies employed by individuals based in the U.S., Suriname, Mexico, and Ecuador using passengers, cargo, postal shipments, and containers to carry drugs.

Synthetic cannabinoids are often disguised in foods, personal care items, paper sheets, and appliances, primarily from the U.S., while cocaine is smuggled from Suriname using various concealment tactics.

Domestic Measures and International Cooperation

The Cuban government continues its strict “zero tolerance” drug policy, imposing severe penalties on drug traffickers, including life imprisonment, and offering its citizens free drug detoxification treatments.

Drug possession is also penalized, though personal use quantities are typically met with fines and warnings.

Cuba actively participates in the global fight against narcotics as a signatory of key United Nations treaties, including 11 extradition treaties, 34 mutual legal assistance treaties, 42 narcotics treaties, and 31 treaties on the transfer of sentenced individuals with other nations.

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