Joint Task Force-Bravo Supports Belize in Drug Eradication
By Dialogo May 07, 2013
Joint Task Force-Bravo (JTF-B), together with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), assisted Belize authorities in a successful marijuana eradication operation from April 8-11 throughout the northern coast of Belize.
The operations resulted in 16 fields; 61,000 illicit plants; 330 pounds of compressed marijuana and 22 pounds of marijuana seeds destroyed by the Belizean government, for an initial estimate of $12.5 million.
JTF-B provided aviation support, on-call casualty evacuation and the Jacob’s ladder familiarization support to 55 Belize Defense Force personnel.
“Jacob’s ladder, or caving ladder operations were used in areas where the landing zone could potentially harm the aircraft,” said Army Staff Sgt. Glen Haynie, Bravo Company Standardization instructor. “It allowed us to get troops up and down without landing and still accomplish the mission.”
The resources and expertise used to work jointly with the Belizean government allowed unprecedented levels of interdiction.
“Working with our partners in Belize, we were able to provide support consisting of a U.S. Army CH-47 Chinook and UH-60 Blackhawk with 10 crew members from 1st Battalion, 228th Aviation Regiment,” said U.S. Army Capt. Beau Carroll, CH-47 Company commander and Air Mission commander of the Belize counter drug mission. “By integrating air operations, the Belizean government eradicated more illicit crops in 48 hours than in the previous two years combined when interdiction efforts consisted strictly of ground assets.”
In addition to the interdiction successes, the combined efforts of the Belizean government and JTF-B operators identified at least six more target locations for future prosecution by the supported agencies.
“Engaging in the drug interdiction mission and working with international agencies is a unique and rewarding experience,” Carroll said. “Being able to fly operations with such an effective end result is why we became pilots. Thanks to this operation, we stopped the transit of $12.5 million worth of marijuana from the Caribbean and Central America into the United States.”
The successful operation highlighted the ability of JTF-B to conduct and support regional combined and interagency operations while building capacity of regional partner nations to combat drug trafficking in Central America.