This is the conclusion of the “Outgunned” feature. The first two parts were carried in Thursday’s and Friday’s Express:
The police continue their relentless search to rid the streets of illegal firearms. But what happens when they are faced with gangsters bringing in high-tech weapons to perpetuate their life of murder and mayhem?
Can they be stopped? A crime boss along the East-West corridor who has been in the business for more than 20 years agreed to speak about his gun-running operations, why the gang war will never end, crooked cops and other nefarious activities.
MARK BASSANT: Can you show us some of your weapons?
CRIME BOSS: Today isn’t a good day because I got word that the police out and about but maybe a next day, but I can give you some of the photos I have on my phone of my handguns...I have like a nines, and this is an AK and this is one of my masked shooters testing out an AK47 sometime ago.
MB: How deep is this network of gun running in Trinidad and Tobago and how long have you been involved in this and how deep are these links?
CB: Real deep, I can’t talk certain things, it too deep. Sometimes how the shot call, you really feel is a black man calling the shots or a youth man? Sometimes people coming in, like earlier in the year a certain fella get lick down in Arima, a big drug lord. What you think that was war thing or turf thing? He didn’t pay up his money to the drug lords in South America so they took care of him. Apart from gang life there is high-class killing nah.
MB: How long have you been involved in this life and have you had cause to kill anyone?
CB: Since I was about 18 or 19, ever since I small I hustling and helping youths in the area. Sometimes you have to call a shot (kill someone) you know because you just trying to make everybody happy, but then it have people who does jealous you and want to come and take your things. So that is what does cause the thing at times.
MB: In the past few weeks allegations have surfaced about police officers on the pay list of gang leaders. You being a crime boss, do you pay police officers to look the other way? Have you had cause to pay police in the past?
CB: The most I go handle them for is for information when a raid going and take place, who name calling and that sort of thing
MB: These are serious allegations here, you are telling me that police officers tip you off about a raid so you can move your guns?
CB: Yes, when the place hot the police will tell you hear nah in your area, they will tell me call so and so and they will tell us they coming dey tonight so handle yuh scene. Sometimes we know from the day before what time the raid starting, who on the raid and what time they assemble and everything
MB: So what kind of money passes to these policemen?
CB: Cash money, sometimes they may want a car, a part for a car, small thing, unless is a senior police you have to give real cash or sometimes a man lock up and you want him out. They eh really have a charge on him, but want to pin a charge on him, dey go call for a $10,000 or $15,000.
MB: How far does the crime network stretch across and how connected is everyone with one another and what’s the warfare about?
CB: For instance, I does deal with certain people on the Beetham, Central, in the East, Bon Air, Maloney, Pinto, all I know it have something going on in town that stretching in the East, West and Central which is Muslim and non-Muslim war.
Everybody know it is nothing new, it been in the papers and thing in the past.
A certain man have a cell. It’s like watching the movie The Cell. He have soldiers in every area even if it is two, three or four of them. For instance, in Tunapuna he have something set up there and it getting worse as contract come out, and he want it, he does tell you kill who in charge of the contract, I know that for sure. Like what going on in town, they saying URP and CEPEP, is not that, it is contracts.
I holding my corner because I know I am a marked man and I know some other men who warring me well connected even with the police and other people.