‘Son of prominent local businessman on the radar’ over huge T&T cocaine bust

(Trinidad Express) The United States’ Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has targeted several local businessmen of interest in their probe into the TT$644 million cocaine drug bust in Norfolk, Virginia, USA in December.

Sources close to the investigation said yesterday following a top-level meeting with customs officials and other high-ranking security officials, DEA officials have obtained crucial information pertinent to this drug operation and expect to make an arrest or arrests soon.

“What I can tell you is that there is a prominent businessman’s son who is on their radar,” said a well placed intelligence source.

Sources close to the investigation say the authorities would  be preparing the necessary paperwork to seek the extradition of those involved.

“At least 50 DEA agents arrived in Trinidad yesterday morning, “and more are expected within the coming days,” according to a well placed intelligence source.

Another  intelligence source said the shipping of the cocaine from these shores was planned and well orchestrated, and might have been going on for close to two years under the noses of security officials here.

The Express and TV6 obtained exclusive information on the ID of the container — XINU 1072048 — and were able to track down the movement from the Mediterranean Shipping Company site.

A high-ranking source close to the investigation said, “The container arrived on the Port of Spain port on November 8 and left the port on November 17.”

According to a copy of the  booking information obtained, the shipper was Caribbean Sea Works Limited.

The container was brought to the port by Basics Transport Limited.

The Liberia-registered cargo vessel called Omridium, according to the tracking information on the document, left Trinidad, then travelled to Cristobal, Panama, where it docked for a short while, before continuing on to Freeport, Grand Bahama before its final transhipment point of Norfolk, Virginia.

Custom sources explained that usually two types of containers are used.

There is the Full Cargo Load (FCL), where there is only one consignee, and  there is the Less Cargo Load (LCL),  where there is usually more than one item placed in the container with several consignees.

In this instance the container was  an FCL, but what has baffled investigators and what  has been learnt from well-placed customs and port officials was that the shipment in question did not have a consignee’s name on it. They believe someone in the US would have ensured the container was cleared.

Checks revealed that Caribbean Works Limited has its address at 107 Windy Ridge, Goodwood Park.

According to a relative, the former director “died more than three years ago and Brigitta O’Sullivan who was later named director has been living in Germany for many years and has not transacted any business for over three years.”

In fact, the relative, who did not want to be named, said “the company was never involved in the shipping business but rather construction up the islands and I want to believe someone could be using the defunct company as a front for their illegal activities.”

Director of Basics Transport Limited, Apollo Arjoon, who spoke via phone explained, “We  would usually collect the empty container for the shipper at the port and drop it outside the port for the shipper to pack, and when the packing is completed, they would return to drop the container back on the port.”

Arjoon said in the two years of doing business with Caribbean Works Limited, “We never went to any other location in this instance or ever  to drop off the empty container for them to pack their goods.”

“No red flags were ever raised of any suspicious activities and he had been doing business with Caribbean Sea Works for close to two years,” stated Arjoon.

He further explained he never had direct contact with the people at Caribbean Sea Works. “It was my dispatcher who would get the call from someone identifying themselves as an official there and they would tell us when they needed a container dropped off or picked up and they would pay in cash,” he said.

Arjoon said port security officials had spoken to his employees and taken statements.

In the coming days several people are expected to be interrogated as the DEA and local law enforcement authorities continue their  investigations.


Latest in Regional News

default placeholder

Jamaica not preparing to leave Caricom, says Holness

(Jamaica Observer) Prime Minister Andrew Holness on Tuesday launched his promised Caricom Review Commission and immediately dismissed speculation that Jamaica is preparing to pull out of the regional economic bloc.

A basket of local onions is on display beside Don McGlashan, director general in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, and Agriculture, in Old Harbour, St Catherine.

Jamaican farms aiming for 40% of onion market

(Jamaica Gleaner) Three years ago, Jamaica was producing just six per cent of the onions consumed locally. Now it’s meeting 10-12 per cent of demand, but that’s still around a quarter of the levels agriculture officials aim to reach.

default placeholder

‘Jamaica is T&T’s ATM’ – Mahfood slams one-way CARICOM benefits

(Jamaica Gleaner) “Jamaica has been the ATM for Trinidad and Tobago.” That’s the claim from the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ), which has indicated that it wants Jamaica to use the upcoming Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Heads of Government Summit to push forcefully for changes that will “rebalance trading relationships” in the 15-member group.

William Mahfood

‘Jamaica is T&T’s ATM’ – Mahfood slams one-way CARICOM benefits

(Jamaica Gleaner) “Jamaica has been the ATM for Trinidad and Tobago.” That’s the claim from the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ), which has indicated that it wants Jamaica to use the upcoming Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Heads of Government Summit to push forcefully for changes that will “rebalance trading relationships” in the 15-member group.

default placeholder

Trump vows to reopen, or scrap, NAFTA pact with Canada and Mexico

MONESSEN, Pennsylvania/WASHINGTON,  (Reuters) – Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump yesterday vowed to force Canada and Mexico to renegotiate the NAFTA trade agreement with the United States – or scrap it – if elected, as part of an effort to protect and restore American jobs.

default placeholder

Sweet potato experts win World Food Prize

WASHINGTON,  (Reuters) – Four scientists who specialized in sweet potatoes were named the winners of this year’s World Food Prize yesterday for their work to make foods more nutritious.

default placeholder

Sanders back in U.S. Senate, blasts ‘colonialism’ in Puerto Rico

WASHINGTON,  (Reuters) – Democratic U.S. presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders brought his firebrand rhetoric back to the floor of the Senate yesterday to condemn a White House-backed bill on Puerto Rico’s financial crisis as “colonialism at its worst.” Sanders, a self-described democratic socialist who turned an unlikely presidential bid into a political movement to combat inequality, warned that legislation due for a crucial Senate vote on Wednesday would subject Puerto Rico to Republican trickle-down economics and favor “vulture capitalists” at the expense of the island’s increasingly impoverished population.

default placeholder

Man arrested in Brazil for attempt to douse Olympic torch

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) – A man has been arrested for trying to extinguish the Olympic torch by throwing a bucket of water over it as it passed through his farming town of Maracaju in central Brazil, an officer at the local police station said yesterday.


About these comments

The comments section is intended to provide a forum for reasoned and reasonable debate on the newspaper's content and is an extension of the newspaper and what it has become well known for over its history: accuracy, balance and fairness. We reserve the right to edit or delete comments which contain attacks on other users, slander, coarse language and profanity, and gratuitous and incendiary references to race and ethnicity.

Stay updated! Follow Stabroek News on Facebook or Twitter.

Get the day's headlines from SN in your inbox every morning: