(Trinidad Guardian) Police blocked off streets in La Romaine, south Trinidad, for more than six hours yesterday during a raid at a known drug trafficking zone. They arrested 20 people, including suspected gangsters and drug dealers and seized an Uzi submachine gun, three pistols, 74 rounds of 9mm ammunition, three kilogrammes of marijuana, eight grammes of cocaine and a blue police operations jacket.
The raid was conducted by the Special Operations Response Unit (SORT) with aerial support provided by drones deployed by the Air Support Unit. Officers from the Southern and Central Division Task Forces and Canine branch entered homes, seized vehicles and ordering suspects to lie on the ground. They blocked off several streets, including Charles, Ethel, Claude and Byron Streets.
However, residents accused the officers of abusing the suspects. Jillian Dover said her two sons were among a group of men doing construction work at a house on Charles Street who were all arrested.
“I don’t mind they arrest them but they beat one of my sons and his face swell up. I was in church when I heard the police come in here and arrest everyone,” she said.
Keino Marraster, who was supposed to be working at the house, said: “I ended up running late today. If I was there, they would have locked me up too.”
Marraster said the police broke down doors and a woman with a baby began to scream.
Another resident said her husband was taking a morning walk when he was detained by the officers.
Police left the area after 2 pm but undercover officers continued patrols up to late yesterday. The suspects are expected to appear before a San Fernando Magistrate today on charges of possession of arms, ammunition and narcotics.
On Friday, Police Commissioner Gary Griffith announced that within 36 hours all gangsters would be arrested.
He also warned that anyone who obstructed the police would be arrested.