Saturday, April 13, 2024

Minister links cocaine haul to illegal guns

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KINGSTON, Jamaica – National Security Minister Dr Horace Chang is linking the multi-billion dollar (One Jamaica dollar=US$0.008 cents) of cocaine here earlier this week to criminals who are responsible for the illegal importation of hundreds of guns into Jamaica.

Police on Tuesday, seized the 2 600 pounds of cocaine with a street value of J$4.5 billion, during an exercise in Morant Point in St Thomas on the easternmost point of the island.

Chang told legislators that up to 200 illegal guns are imported to Jamaica monthly. And that the authorities are working detain those responsible for organising the trade.

“Who we need to catch is not the man who them use to shoot people, it’s the man who’s organising this because what this tells us is not just to commend the improved capacity of the JDF (Jamaica Defence Force)  and Coast Guard, but what it tells us is that operating around Jamaica now is people who have the capacity to deal with 3 000 pounds of coke.

“That is a serious business enterprise and requires the attention of the whole country and the support of the entire country,” he said.

The police say an international drug network is behind the cocaine which originated from South America and was destined for the United States.

Chang said that despite the best efforts of previous police units, they could not operate effectively within the constitutional space in which they had to work, while dealing with transnational crimes.

He said as a result, the island was forced to revisit and renegotiate co-operation agreements with long-standing international partners, including the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom, in order to continue the partnership needed to apprehend transnational criminals.

“It was necessary to do so, because we are currently operating without any of those tools under which those governments are operating with and doing some good work,” Chang said, noting criminal enterprises were operating within the country “running a major business, and we have to ensure that we protect our borders not only in the wider area, but also in the legitimate parts”. (CMC)

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