A joint investigation by the United States, the Dominican Republic and the Netherlands led to the interception of product tanker KALUBA in the Caribbean and the seizure of 1,570 kilograms of pure cocaine. Several months of investigation led to this major maritime drug bust from the tanker, which started from Aruba, a tiny Dutch Caribbean island off the coast of Venezuela, and its destination was Puerto Plata in the Dominican Republic. Additionally, 12 crew members were also taken into custody in connection with the cocaine trafficking ring. The huge consignment of the drug was stashed in the clandestine cargo tank of the vessel.
In its annual report on the global narcotics trade, the U.S. State Department expressed major concern over the growing use of cocaine across the nation. Studies suggest some of the world’s most dangerous drug trafficking organizations (DTOs) operate a robust network in Colombia. As part of their routine operations, cocaine cartels usually ship huge loads of cocaine from Colombia to Puerto Quetzal in Guatemala or other intermediate points in the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Jamaica and Haiti, before they are further transported to the U.S. Moreover, the Central American-Mexican corridor along the Pacific coast is a popular route to funnel cocaine into the U.S. territory due to poor state vigilance. Most drug traffickers invest in modern, high-tech drug trafficking equipment to carry on their activities in these regions.
Cocaine is a dangerous drug
Research suggests even a single first-time dose of cocaine can alter the brain’s reward system, resulting in addiction. As the reward circuit adapts to the dopamine surge induced by cocaine, chronic users build greater tolerance to the drug and end up taking even stronger doses, thereby, raising the risk of an overdose. Besides cardiovascular problems, heart attacks and poor memory functions, cocaine is also known to shrink the brain. In other words, when compared to non-users, studies show cocaine users lose a significant amount of gray matter in the prefrontal and temporal regions responsible for memory, attention and decision-making.
Besides, those who binge on cocaine struggle with paranoia, disorientation and delusions. In the U.S., innumerable individuals across neighborhoods and communities have suffered terrible blows and losses due to the compulsive drug seeking behaviors of a near and dear one. The U.S. is the largest consumer of cocaine across the globe, making it the most popular illicit recreational drug nationwide after marijuana and prescription opioids. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), in 2016, about 1.9 million people aged 12 or older were current users of cocaine. These numbers also included about 432,000 current users of crack.
However, addiction to harmful drugs like cocaine can be treated. If a person is grappling with addiction to any drug, he/she should immediately seek professional help from a reputed rehab center. One should understand the fact that substance use disorders can have life-threatening implications, if left untreated.
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