Trinidad: Cops Seize Millions More At Pastor’s Church

(TRINIDAD GUARDIAN) – Po­lice seized mil­lions more in cash at the Third Ex­o­dus As­sem­bly Church in Long­denville head­ed by Pas­tor Vin­worth Day­al late Thurs­day evening.

The lat­est raid was con­duct­ed by of­fi­cers of the Fi­nan­cial In­tel­li­gence Unit (FIU) of the Trinidad and To­ba­go Po­lice Ser­vice with the help of the Fi­nan­cial In­tel­li­gence Branch (FIB), as they widened their in­ves­ti­ga­tion in­to the fi­nan­cial op­er­a­tions at the church.

Of­fi­cers from the FIU are in­ves­ti­gat­ing an in­ci­dent in which the pas­tor at­tempt­ed to change close to $29 mil­li­on in old $100 bills on De­cem­ber 31. That mon­ey has since been seized by the po­lice.

“It’s mil­lions for sure,” said a se­nior in­ves­ti­ga­tor who spoke with Guardian Me­dia fol­low­ing the po­lice search at the church that was con­duct­ed si­mul­ta­ne­ous­ly with an op­er­a­tion at an Ocean Av­enue home in Gulf View, La Ro­maine, on Thurs­day evening.

At the La Ro­maine house, which is oc­cu­pied by the pas­tor’s rel­a­tives, in­ves­ti­ga­tors on­ly seized doc­u­ments.

But at the church, in­ves­ti­ga­tors said they found large sums of $20, $10, $5 and $1 notes in a large cab­i­net.

“There were al­so large ev­i­den­tial bags filled with these notes as well. It’s a lot!” one in­ves­ti­ga­tor ex­plained.

Sources said they found thou­sands of en­velopes that con­tained tithes, ac­cord­ing to Pas­tor Day­al, who was present dur­ing the search. The pas­tor, ac­cord­ing to in­ves­ti­ga­tors, ex­plained that they had large brown en­velopes and white en­velopes in­side of these brown en­velopes. The white en­velopes had old $100 bills that were re­moved to be ex­changed and the brown en­velopes con­tained all the “oth­er types of bills.”

Sev­er­al stacks of the bills were tight­ly held to­geth­er by rub­ber bands that were found in the large bags or in­side the cab­i­net.

In­ves­ti­ga­tors said dur­ing the search Day­al kept telling po­lice that he would be vin­di­cat­ed and the mon­ey they saw came from tithes giv­en to him by his con­gre­ga­tion.

The large sum of mon­ey was tak­en away by of­fi­cers of the FIU and they will be start­ing a count on Fri­day to es­ti­mate ex­act­ly how much mon­ey they re­cov­ered on the church com­pound.

Na­tion­al Se­cu­ri­ty Min­is­ter Stu­art Young said on De­cem­ber 5 last year that the new poly­mer $100 bill would help au­thor­i­ties in their fight against mon­ey laun­der­ing and oth­er il­le­gal op­er­a­tions. The pub­lic was ad­vised to change their old $100 bills for the new poly­mer $100 bills by De­cem­ber 31, 2019. How­ev­er, the pas­tor came un­der the radar af­ter he tried to change close to $29m on the dead­line day. Po­lice sub­se­quent­ly seized the mon­ey on the Pro­ceeds of Crime Act be­fore Thurs­day’s raid at the church.