Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Cocaine goes missing: cops to face questions

HOW did cocaine go missing from the Mayaro Police Station under the noses of police officers?

According to senior police sources, the cocaine was discovered missing last Saturday evening  when the police complainant in a drug court matter due to take place later this week at the Mayaro Magistrates’ Court came to check on the exhibit.

The sources said the exhibits were not kept in the exhibit room but lodged with the sentry on duty.

When the officer arrived to check on the exhibit he found that the bag, which was supposed to contain 46 cocaine rocks, was cut open and 40 of the cocaine rocks were missing.

He immediately reported the matter to the senior officer on duty.

Sources said the cocaine had been sent back from the Forensic Science Centre in Federation Park after it was weighed and packaged  sometime between August and September last year.

The defendant had been arrested earlier in 2013 and his trial was expected to begin before a Mayaro magistrate this week.

Police sources confirmed that an investigator will soon be appointed to probe the disappearance of the cocaine, which is being kept “hush-hush” by other police officers. 

A source at the Professional Standards Bureau of the Police Service said they had not been informed about the missing cocaine at the station. The bureau probes allegations of misconduct against police officers.

It is understood that several officers from the station will be questioned in the coming days about the disappearance of the drugs.

One senior from the Eastern Division said: “I have no comment to make on that at this time, ask Mrs Joanne Archie.” 

Another senior police source said: “I can only say it is being looked into.”

Attempts to contact Commissioner of Police Stephen Williams for a comment by phone went unanswered.

Attempts were also made to contact ASP Joanne Archie, public relations officer of the Police Service, on her cellphone but she did not respond.

In February 2011, four packets of cocaine, with an estimated street value of $1.6 million, disappeared from the property room at St James Police Station. Several officers were questioned, their homes searched and statements taken, but the drugs remain missing. 

And two years before that, police discovered a quantity of arms, ammunition and cocaine hidden in the ceiling of St Joseph Police Station.

Investigators said the weapons and illicit drugs were seized during police raids but were never logged as evidence.

Some 40 police officers, including an inspector, were later transferred from that station.