Trinidad: Police hunt more suspects after multi-million dollar drug bust

Members of the Special Operations Response team question occupants of a vehicle after their sting operation in Westmoorings on Tuesday.

(Trinidad Guardian) In­ves­ti­ga­tors have launched a drag­net to catch more sus­pects be­lieved to be linked to Tues­day’s ma­jor drug bust in West­moor­ings.

Among those be­ing hunt­ed is a busi­ness­man from north Trinidad be­lieved to be a high-rank­ing mem­ber of a drug traf­fick­ing ring be­hind ma­jor tran­ship­ments of drugs in­to and out of the coun­try.

How­ev­er, po­lice said yes­ter­day that the in­ves­ti­ga­tions had reached a high­ly sen­si­tive stage and as such they would dis­close no fur­ther in­for­ma­tion to the pub­lic un­til charges are laid against the five peo­ple— three men and two women — who were ar­rest­ed dur­ing the drug bust. One of the de­tained women is a rel­a­tive of a for­mer part­ner of Min­is­ter of Na­tion­al Se­cu­ri­ty Stu­art Young.

Po­lice said they were still in the process of tak­ing state­ments from the sus­pects and for­mu­lat­ing the charges to be laid.

Po­lice were up to late yes­ter­day al­so sort­ing out the pack­ages that were seized from the posh apart­ment at Re­gents Gar­dens. Some were pack­aged com­pressed mar­i­jua­na and some co­caine.

By the mark­ings on the pack­ag­ing, po­lice ini­tial­ly said there was a link to both Mex­i­can and Venezue­lan drug car­tels.

How­ev­er, crim­i­nol­o­gist Dau­rius Figueira yes­ter­day ruled out the Mex­i­can link, say­ing that the Mex­i­cans are more or­gan­ised and their pack­ag­ing is “more dis­tinct and classy.”

He sus­pects more of a Colom­bian and Venezue­lan link and drew ref­er­ence to the drug bust at North Val­sayn re­cent­ly where po­lice out­right­ly pin­point­ed a “Colom­bian link.”

Figueira de­scribed what he saw on Tues­day from the drug bust as “flop­py.”

“That was to­tal­ly a flop­py or­gan­i­sa­tion, which goes against all the rules that Mex­i­can traf­fick­ers abide by,” he said.

“Colom­bian prod­ucts are mov­ing through Venezuela to here. The drugs are band­ed in brown pa­per and put in black garbage bags. These drugs are be­ing moved from Colom­bia through­out Venezuela in small amounts on the floor of cars and in­side fend­ers.”

Figueira said he be­lieves that a “dime dropped” from with­in the busi­ness.

“The in­for­ma­tion went di­rect­ly to the po­lice from some­one in­side for them (the po­lice) to take out the traf­fick­ing cell and that now leaves a lot of spec­u­la­tion on the ground.”

He added that he strong­ly be­lieves that with the three re­cent drug and weapon seizures will come to a “wave of vi­o­lence,” in­clud­ing mur­ders, to fol­low.

“The three in­ci­dents showed ex­act­ly three di­men­sions of the il­lic­it trade in T&T— one au­to­mat­ic weapons with mar­i­jua­na on the side…the next gan­ja and with this third one, we are still wait­ing to hear how much co­caine and gan­ja seized. This is an idea of how dy­nam­ic the trade is in T&T and it is a wake-up call,” Figueira said.

An es­ti­mat­ed $15 mil­lion worth of nar­cotics were seized from an apart­ment in West­moor­ings and five peo­ple ar­rest­ed. The ex­er­cise took place at about mid­day on Tues­day and was con­duct­ed by the Spe­cial Op­er­a­tions Re­sponse Team of the T&T Po­lice Ser­vice.

Com­mis­sion­er of Po­lice Gary Grif­fith, who was part of Tues­day’s op­er­a­tion, an­nounced that “the hap­py hour was over” for all drug deal­ers and crim­i­nals af­ter the seizure and ar­rests.

He as­sured that he was “tak­ing them down one by one” and promised that he was com­ing af­ter them.

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