|$22.5M drug bust in Maracas Bay |
By JANELLE DE SOUZA Saturday, May 17 2014
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DRUGS SEIZED: Sgt Nigel Horsford of Maracas Bay Police Station, points to packets of cocaine and marijuana seized during a police exercise at Maracas ...
MARIJUANA and cocaine with a street value of $500,000 and $22 million respectively, were seized by police from a vehicle which the officers came across near Maracas Bay during the early morning hours yesterday.
At a press conference yesterday at Morvant Police Station, Ag Snr Supt Afzal Khan reported that at about 1.30 am, officers of Maracas Bay Police Station, supervised by Sgt Nigel Horsford, conducted exercises in their district, searching several houses and vehicles.
Although the officers did not give a break down of the weight of the drugs, at least 60 individually wrapped blocks of cocaine and compressed marijuana were spread across a large table at the police station.
Two men, aged 39 and 35, from Longdenville and Maracas, St Joseph respectively were arrested and have since been charged with possession of cocaine and marijuana for the purpose of trafficking. They are expected to appear before a Port-of-Spain Magistrate on Monday.
“How it is packed, it seems these illicit drugs were destined for overseas. And with this seizure and arrests, I know it will cause a dent in the local narco trade,” Khan said.
Head of Crime and Operations at North Eastern Division, Inspector Roger Alexander, told Newsday that officers intercepted a car which was proceeding out of Maracas.
Alexander said he felt certain the drugs originated from Venezuela via a pirogue, noting that the boat would have eluded both the Venezuelan Guardia Nacional and the TT Coast Guard.
“I continue to reiterate the importance of protecting our borders. Drugs and guns are the two major contributors to murders in this country yet these illicit items are entering the country. Consider, if this amount of cocaine and marijuana was converted to firearms, it would have amounted to over 100 high-powered firearms entering the country by the same means, undetected,” Alexander said.
Contacted for comment, National Security Minister Gary Griffith said he was not aware of the interdiction but nevertheless, congratulated the police officers involved in the successful operation.
Asked if he was concerned about possible violent repercussions due to the seizure, Khan said, “We have the Task Force and the other police officers on alert. We will continue to carry out mobile patrols and the Task Force would continue to assist the Maracas Bay police in case of any eventuality.”
In addition to the drug find, while taking the arrested men to the Barataria Police Station, the officers noticed a vehicle parked at the side of the road. They approached the occupants who said the vehicle had stalled and that they were waiting for a mechanic to arrive and repair it.
According to Khan, the officers found the engine to be cold and decided to search the occupants. A shotgun and three rounds of 12 gauge ammunition were found. The two men were arrested and taken to Maracas Police station where they were charged.
Khan praised his officers for taking 40 firearms and 386 rounds of various ammunition off the streets for the year.
He made special mention of Sgt Horsford, PCs Pierre, Joseph and Nurse, for their “painstaking enquiry, dedication and hard work.”