BIG BUST: Bails of US dollars sprawled across a large table at the La Horquetta Police Station yesterday. The money, amounting to about US$500,000, was seized from a car in San Juan by the Northern Division Task Force early yesterday morning together with a brand new Tec nine authomatic gun and several rounds of ammunition. A 51-year-old suspect was arrested. See Page 3.

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Cops smash drug ring: driver held with US$.5m, machine gun

By By Mark Bassant CCN Senior Multimedia Investigative Journalist

THERE might have been a shortage of US currency in the local financial system recently, but that did not seem to be the case in the underworld after police officers from the Northern Division Task Force smashed what they believe is a multimillion-dollar drug-smuggling operation and recovered close to half a million US dollars, together with a new Tec-9 auto­ma­tic gun and several rounds of ammunition.

 Police arrested a 51-year-old man.

Bails of US currency were sprawled across a large table at the La Horquetta Police Station yesterday as police officers examined the money, closely counting the cash that amounts to more than $3 million, pro­ceeds, police informed the Sun­day Express and TV6 News, were from a drug transaction early yesterday morning.

Investigators said around 12.15 a.m., officers of the Nor­thern Division Task Force, co-ordinated by Senior

Superintendent David Abra­ham and  headed by Inspec­tor Mark Maharaj and Sergeant Harewood, inter­cep­ted a blue Nissan Navara pick-up in Nicholasville, San Juan, driven by the 51-year-old man from the same area.

The police officers, upon checking the vehicle, found a suitcase in the back seat.

Inside it, officers discovered a new Tec-9 automatic gun with 75 rounds of ammunition, as well as two magazines, sitting atop the pile of cash.

Packaged in tight plastic were bails of US currency, mostly in 20- and 50-dollar bills, some held together by rubber bands.

Investigators say they obtained information the sus­pect had only hours ago sold a

major quantity of cocaine to South Americans who had been waiting in a boat along the North Coast.

They say the money and gun was obtained after selling the product and are working on certain information as to who

the money was being transpor­ted to and who are the other players involved in the drug smuggling operation.

Senior police sources told the Sun­day Express and TV6 News the firearm will be sent for ballistics testing, as well as international tracing, since there are distinguishing serial numbers on the gun.

The suspect, police in­formed, was recently freed on a murder charge and also beat a drug matter several months ago involving a local shipment.

Senior police sources said they had already contacted the

Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU)

and Customs and Excise for

assistance in the investiga­tion, which they believe may have backlash in the under­world.

“We are bracing for reper­cussions of this bust and we want them to know that Northern Division police will continue to go at the criminal elements to ensure the safety of the citizens,” a senior police source said.

The suspect remained in police custody last night.

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