North Eastern Division police made a significant breakthrough on Thursday afternoon in their war against narcotics when they seized an estimated $22.5 million in cocaine and marijuana during an exercise along North Coast Road.
This was revealed in a press briefing yesterday at Morvant Police Station by the division’s Senior Superintendent, Afzal Khan.
Khan, who was flanked by Assistant Superintendent Collis Hazel, Superintendent Helen Cox-Modeste, Sgt Nigel Horsford, and Cpl Francis Bernard, revealed that the drugs were found in the back seat of a vehicle in the vicinity of a “popular beach” along the roadway.
“A group of officers led by Sgt Horsford, with assistance from PC Pierre, PC Maynard, PC Joseph and PC Nurse, stopped a car on the roadway at about 4.30 a.m. during routine patrol. When they looked inside the vehicle they observed several crocus bags in the back-seat of the car, and as a result they conducted a search of the bags,” Khan said.
In the bags, the officers found several packets of drugs and arrested the two men who were in the vehicle — aged 35 and 39, from Longdenville, Chaguanas and La Seiva, Maraval, respectively.
Khan told the media that one of the cocaine packages had the number 94 on it, which led the police to believe that there were 93 other packages that may have passed through the country already. Therefore the division, he said, was beginning to work even closer with officials from the Coast Guard to limit the opportunity for drug dealers to smuggle any illegal narcotics in the future.
Sgt Horsford also explained to the media that it was not strange for people to have crocus bags on the back seats of their cars in the North Coast area, as many people living in that jurisdiction were farmers.
But police officers noted they would be on heightened alert and they intend to increase patrols in the area to curb the importation of drugs.
Sgt Horsford, who was highly commended by Khan during the briefing, also led a party of officers that arrested two Maraval men about 15 hours later.
Horsford and his team were conducting patrols along Saddle Road, Maraval, when they observed two men sitting in a vehicle which was parked along the roadway.
The officers approached the vehicle and enquired from the two men what was the problem.
The men, police said, told the lawmen they were experiencing engine trouble.
Horsford and his team exited their vehicle and went to render assistance, but when they observed that the engine of the vehicle was cold, they became suspicious.
The men and the car were searched and a shot gun and three cartridges were found. The two men were then arrested.
All four suspects are expected to be placed on identification parades this weekend before being charged and brought before a Port of Spain Magistrate on Monday.