NEW BEDFORD — Eight people were arrested on six outbound fishing boats this week in drug raids by national, state and local law officers, who seized heroin that fishermen were intending to use at sea, police said.

“This is the second time we’ve done this, and it’s actually a continuing effort to (stop) the flow of illegal drugs from getting to sea, aboard fishing vessels,” said Major Patrick Moran of the Massachusetts Environmental Police.

“This operation, we had eight arrests,” he said of the Tuesday and Wednesday raids.
Moran said that over the two-day operation, staged at Popes Island, officers boarded 11 fishing boats that were outbound from New Bedford’s waterfront. Six of those boats had drugs on them, Moran said. Two boats resulted in two arrests each, and single arrests were made on each of four other boats, he said.

Sgt. Jason Gomes, director of port security for New Bedford police, said the selection of which boats to search was “pretty much completely random.”

Moran said state environmental police worked with the New Bedford Police Department’s Marine Special Response Team and local officers from the Department of Homeland Security.

“Our intent is to get the drugs before they get out to sea,” Moran said.

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