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COPS RAID COPS

By NALINEE SEELAL Wednesday, February 19 2014

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IN A CASE of police raiding police, senior South Western Division officers on Monday afternoon executed a search warrant at the Fyzabad Police Station where during a search, they discovered a quantity of marijuana, cocaine and several rounds of ammunition of various calibre, hidden in the ceiling above the male bathroom and inside a filing cabinet in the dormitory.

Discovery of the contraband items at the police station on Monday sent shock waves throughout the length and breadth of the Police Service. According to reports, Insp Anderson Parriman, head of the Fyzabad Police Station, acting on information, stunned colleagues at the station when he ordered a lockdown of the building and a thorough search to be carried out of the male dormitory and male bathroom. The search began at about 3 pm.

Insp Parriman, assisted by several senior officers and sniffer dogs, first went to the male dormitory and searched a filing cabinet where they found marijuana and cocaine packaged in sealed packets. The marijuana weighed 560 grammes while the cocaine weighed 36 grammes.

Officers then went to the bathroom and removed ceiling tiles where they found 130 rounds of ammunition of varying calibre. Acting Commissioner of Police Stephen Williams yesterday confirmed the raid.

“There have been certain discoveries made by the Inspector in charge of that police station and he is to submit an urgent report to me. I will be assigning officers from the Professional Standards Bureau to do a priority investigation into this matter.

“Anything which points to improper conduct by police officers will be of grave concern to me and this matter will be urgently addressed,” Williams said. Williams said he could give no further information on the raid including whether or not any officer was questioned in connection with the find.

Acting Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Donald Denoon yesterday told Newsday, “an investigation is ongoing into the matter and I am awaiting a thorough report from Insp Parriman before the investigation can go any further.”

He revealed the items seized are to be packaged with special markings, which will then be sent to the Forensic Science Centre, St James, for certain tests to be carried out. The results of these tests will form part of the final report.

Denoon said based on what is contained in the report, a decision will then be taken on the next move with respect to finding out who was responsible for placing the items in these hiding spots.

Yesterday, other senior officers when contacted said it is possible that persons other than police officers who may have had access to the station — including members of the Defense Force — could have placed the ammunition in the ceiling. As for the drugs, sources said, they cannot discount the possibility that rogue cops are behind the hiding of the narcotics.

Up until yesterday no officer assigned to the Fyzabad Police Station had been questioned, or transferred in connection with the drugs and ammo found.

President of the Police Social and Welfare Association Insp Anand Ramesar yesterday said the find was a disgrace and a disservice to hardworking and dedicated police officers. “It is necessary for the Commissioner of Police to ensure a thorough investigation is conducted. Additionally, the regular act of transferring officers to other police stations when such an incident occurs, with no further action, cannot continue as very often, innocent persons are caught in the crossfire and sometimes are unfairly stigmatised.

“It is important that as they move forward we protect the integrity of those who are not responsible and simultaneously deal swiftly with those found culpable of this find,” Ramesar said.

This is not the first time contraband items have been found hidden in a police station.

In August 2009 and again in September of that year, police carried out separate raids at St Joseph Police Station where they seized four unregistered firearms and a quantity of narcotics in the office of a senior officer. Among the firearms recovered were a Beretta pistol and a shotgun, which were reportedly hidden in the ceiling of that office. In the September raid at that same police station, officers seized two shotguns, an undisclosed amount of ammunition and an undisclosed amount of marijuana.

One of the shotguns was found hidden behind the property room of the station and the other was found hidden in a kitchen drawer. Ammunition was also found in a drawer in an office while the marijuana was found in a drawer in another office.

As a result of the seizures, then Ag Commissioner James Philbert (now retired) ordered 38 officers of the station transferred to other stations with not one officer being charged. The items found at the St Joseph Police Station are still lodged at the Forensic Science Centre.

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