Friday 30 October, 2020

Gary: 'DSS haul could be more than $50M; I'm stepping on big toes'

Money seized in an alleged scheme in La Horquetta.

Money seized in an alleged scheme in La Horquetta.

Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith has revealed that the search on a home in La Horquetta last week could have raked in more than $50 million.

Griffith also said that several high-level entities want him to stop investigating the matter. 

Speaking with Morning Edition host Fazeer Mohammed Griffith said he’s been “stepping on big toes” as he investigates an alleged pyramid scheme called ‘Drugs Sou Sou’ (DSS) in La Horquetta.  

“I was told by many persons to stay out of this one. This here, is some big toes that I am stepping on. It involves major stakeholders from all organisations, inclusive of the business sector, gang members, members of the defence force, members of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service. I was advised to be very careful of this one, but I am going after this very hard,” he promised. 

Undaunted, Griffith said that this one incident could be part of a much bigger enterprise. 

“We have been told now that it may not be $22 million, it could be more than $50 million, there are several other locations," he revealed. 

Griffith said, regardless of the figure, when that amount of money is found in a house, it is well within the police service’s remit to question legitimacy, especially if it’s a front for something else. 

He added: “If by chance that certain people are abusing a pyramid scheme as a front to launder tens of millions of dollars through gangs and criminal activity or that have been used as a front to syphon funds from the drug trade and I can crack this, it is going to play a very critical role towards cleaning up this country,” he said. 

A Guardian Media report claims that police actually retrieved $90 million from the search, but that $74 million would be returned to the DSS operators. Griffith said the report is forcing him to question what he was told by his officers.

“That's the point, we do not even know if it was $22 million because the officers — I have questioned these officers and for them to return this money it is one of two things and I'm being blunt; it's either incompetence or they're involved in it,” he said.

Griffith said he’s prepared to endure whatever fallout comes from getting to the bottom of the matter because it could be a matter of life and death. 

“This could cost lives. This could cost persons to lose their lives. If we crack this, we can bring down cartels, we can bring down big business, big persons involved in criminal enterprise,” he said. 

Asked what crimes have possibly been committed in the garnering of such a huge amount of money, Griffith said he’s following the paper trail to find out. 

“That is the right of the police to investigate and to verify that their receipts would equate to that of the cash and to make sure that all of the financial regulations as mandated by our constitution is being adhered to,” he said. 

The investigation follows a search at the home of the DSS founder in La Horquetta last Wednesday after claims that people had lost their money in an alleged pyramid scheme. The money initially retrieved was reported to be $22 million. 

Since then, Griffith has come under fire from other members of DSS who say that all transactions have been above board. 

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