Trinidad: Cops Make $184m Cedros Drug Bust, Suspects Escape

(TRINIDAD EXPRESS) – HIGH-grade Colombian marijuana valued at more than $165 million and more than $19 million in cocaine were seized by a multi-agency intelligence-led police exercise in Cedros yesterday.

Bales of a marijuana strain, which police said is known as “Hydro Creepy”, and 12 packets of cocaine, were discovered in a forested area off Austin Trace in Coromandel Village.

Senior Superintendent Brian Soodeen who led and supervised the operation in the village in the south-western peninsula told the Express yesterday that the seizure of the narcotics yesterday morning came after four days of surveillance in the district. He said at around 8.30 a.m. yesterday members of the police units ventured into a “forested and swampy” area where they found 60 bales of marijuana and several Spanish-speaking men

The senior superintendent said that the officers attempted to arrest several Spanish-speaking men who were near the narcotics but due to the difficult terrain the men escaped.

Each of the bales contained approximately 50 blocks of high-grade marijuana.

Among the bales were the 12 packets of cocaine, with an estimated street value of $19,236,096, police said.

The narcotics haul was extracted from the forested area, with a three-tonne truck, and transported to the Marabella Police Station where it was weighed.

Its weight amounted to over 1,507 kilogrammes which carries an estimated street value of $165,388,728.

The operation was directly supervised by Snr Supt Soodeen and included ASP Ramesar, Insp Ramlogan of the Southern Division Task Force.

The multi-agency intelligence-led exercise included members of the South-Western Division Task Force, Southern Division Task Force, National Operations Task Force, the Coastal and Riverine Patrol Unit, the Coast Guard, the Air Support Unit, the Multi-Operations Police Section and the Canine Unit.

The drug bust comes just as a Joint Select Committee report on National Security was laid in Parliament last Friday which stated that border control is very lax in Trinidad and Tobago.

The report stated that T&T suffers from a security crisis and a border control crisis owing to the lack of efficiency of the Customs and Excise Division and the Trinidad and Tobago Coast Guard; and a gun retrieval crisis, owing to the lack of efficiency of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service.

And because the Customs and Excise Division—the agency with the sole responsibility for the examination and clearance of all cargo entering Trinidad and Tobago—tends to put more focus on tax collection, there is a need to set up a separate agency specifically to monitor and control the entry of contraband in Trinidad and Tobago, the report stated.