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The Bahamas is a major transit point for South American cocaine and Jamaican marijuana en route to the United States Very small amounts of cannabis are grown on the island for domestic consumption The United States Government USG and the Government of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas GCOB continue to enjoy a counter drug working relationship The GCOB places a high priority on combating drug transshipments through its archipelago and is moving decisively to combat money laundering and other drug related crimes The GCOB cooperates very closely with the USG on a combined law enforcement effort Operation Bahamas and Turks and Caicos OPBAT Being the first country to ratify the 1998 UN Drug Convention the GCOB continues to take steps to implement it Following passage of strong anti-money laundering legislation in 1996 Bahamian authorities are closely monitoring bank compliance and investigating suspicious financial transactions United States and Bahamian law enforcement officials worked very closely throughout the year to respond to notable increases in air and maritime transshipment incidents The GCOB is strongly emphasizing money laundering and asset forfeiture investigations and prosecutions The GCOB also continued to strengthen its judicial system with assistance from the USG However unreliable jury pools and weaknesses in the drug laws resulted in several major Bahamian drug dealers evading conviction in 1998 Despite committed and talented judicial leadership the Bahamas needs to improve the effectiveness of its court system in gaining convictions against major drug dealers and trafficking laws and improving the prosecutorial capabilities of the police prosecutors The USG will continue to work with the GCOB in this area both bilaterally and through regional training and assistance projects In December 1998 The Royal Bahamas Police Force RBPF Drug Enforcement Unit DEU arrested two police officers from the Royal Bahamas Defense Force RBDF Drug Cocaine Unit at Nassau International Airport for allegedly working with a cocaine trafficking ring The GCOB need to continue to move decisively against corruption at
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