(Trinidad Guardian) More than 2,000 illegal firearms, mostly pistols and revolvers and approximately 37,000 rounds of assorted ammunition have been recovered by the police in the past 36 months.
Most of the illegal guns come through the South American mainland originating from North America.
This was disclosed yesterday by acting ASP Vernly Gift of the Organised Crime, Narcotics and Firearms Bureau (OCNFB) during the T&T Police Service’s weekly media briefing.
Giving a breakdown, Gift said in total 2,158 firearms were recovered from January 2015 to August 2017, “In 2015, 691…in 2016, 765 and from January 2017 to August 31 2017, 702…of the nine divisions, the majority of seizures were made in the Northern, Western and Southern divisions.”
Gift also said that during the period January 2016 to August 31 2016, a total of $109,637,067 in cocaine and marijuana were seized, while in 2017 during the same period, $30,727,305 were seized.
He said that despite the fact that the T&T Police Service (TTPS) has had notable success in the recovery of illegal arms and ammunition, it is difficult to measure the quantity of firearms entering the country.
“Whilst the threat of firearms is real and ever so evident, the effects of the narcotic scourge is equally as devastating and contribute to the loss and diminishing quality of life locally,” Gift said.
With respect to marijuana eradication exercises, police have increased its initiative from 29 exercises in 2016 from January to August 31 to 41 exercises in the same period this year.
“In 2016 233,330 fully grown trees were destroyed while this year same period 1,108,737 fully grown trees were destroyed…a 41 per cent increase in exercises and 375 per cent increase in trees being destroyed,” Gift said.
When asked if the Police Service had full co-operation with the Customs and Excise Division with respect to carrying out exercises at the respective ports of entry throughout T&T, Gift replied: “Yes. We often have meetings and they are fully cooperative”
He, however, could not give any statistics with regards to the amount of illegal firearms and narcotics seized from those respective ports of entities.
“The effort in drug supply reduction by local agencies such as Customs and Excise, T&T Coast Guard, security agencies at all ports of entry should not go unnoticed and for this the TTPS commends them for their efforts,” Gift said.