Monday 20 August, 2018

TTPS: Over $57 million in cocaine seized for 2018 to date

Police said the Organised Crime and Intelligence Unit (OCIU) has seized almost $60 million in cocaine for the year so far - a whopping 1,062 percent increase - compared to the same period for 2017.

In a media briefing on Wednesday, the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS) said for the period January to February 2018, approximately 123 kilogrammes of cocaine with a street value of $57,290,112 was seized, an increase of 1,062 percent compared to the same period in 2017, in which 10.61 kilogrammes of cocaine were seized with a street value of $4,929,830.40.

Police also marked a 136 percent increase in marijuana seizures after 519.61 kilogrammes of weed valued at $7,014,735 were seized in January to February 2018, as compared to the same period in 2017 in which 219.99 kilogrammes of marijuana valued at $2,969,865 were seized.

Additionally, for the months January and February 2017, 1883 assorted rounds of ammunition were seized in contrast to 3598 assorted rounds being found/seized for the same period in 2018. This resulted in a 91 percent increase in ammunition seized/found.

However, police said in January and February 2018 they seized 169 firearms compared to 170 for the same period in 2017; a minimal decrease of 1.4 percent.

Police said this shows they are fulfilling their mandate to dismantle and disrupt organised crime and to prosecute members of organised crime.

OCIU has thus far been successful in delivering on its mandate:

- 333 kilogrammes of cocaine, of which, over 129 kilogrammes were seized for 2018 so far.

- 285 kilogrammes of marijuana of which over of 37 kilogrammes were seized this year.

- Nine assorted firearms; of which three were seized this year.

That being said, the OCIU continues to assist the nine Police divisions and has provided critical intelligence that resulted in seizures of illegal firearms, ammunition and narcotics.

The OCIU said it provided intelligence that led to 17 assorted firearms being seized/found in various divisions, while over 12 kilogrammes of marijuana were seized in various divisions. They also assisted in persons being arrested, in some cases for murder. 

The OCIU, which was established on September 15, 2017, represents an integration of the Criminal Gang and Intelligence Unit and the Organised Crime and Narcotics and Firearms Bureau. The unit is tasked with the mandate of dismantling, disrupting, suppressing and subsequent prosecution of Organised Criminal Groups and its members.

"Whilst the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service has embarked on a massive firearm removal thrust, persons must be reminded of the fact that there are equally severe consequences for illegal ammunition possession."

"In addition, there are some persons who continue to conceal drugs, illegal firearms and ammunition for individuals with criminal intent. A trend has been noted whereby members of several Organised Criminal Groups are using persons without criminal records, (especially teenagers), to hide their illegal items for them."

"Even though there may be some monetary gain, the money offered cannot compensate for the time spent in jail and embarrassment suffered by the family of the accused,"  the TTPS said.

Among other notable mentions, the OCIU also assisted in the recapture of Vicky Boodram, as well as the Piarco Airport robbery which resulted in the prosecution of four people and the recovery of over $250,000

"The OCIU continues to advise members of the wider public that in order to create a better society, everyone needs to contribute toward crime prevention and detection."

"The diligence of parents or guardians is equally necessary, as these criminal groups continue to seek out new membership," the TTPS said.

Persons desirous of communicating with the OCIU can contact them at 623-6207.