Ja officials implicated in drug trade

KINGSTON, Jamaica – A recent narcotics intelligence report has linked a number of Jamaican police personnel, customs officials and employees at the seaports to the growing illegal drug trade.

Head of the Narcotics Police Division, Senior Superintendent Carlton Wilson, said the personnel were playing an integral part in the illegal drug trade.

He did not disclose the identities of the persons implicated, but revealed that on many occasions police personnel have tipped off drug smugglers when the security forces were pursuing them.

“A number of these police personnel are under our microscope,” the narcotics chief said.

Commissioner of Customs Danville Walker said while he had not received the report, he would not rule out the possibility of customs officials being involved in the illicit activity.

“I have been focusing on revenue,” Walker said.

A spokesperson at the Port Authority of Jamaica said he, too, had not seen or heard of any such report.

But he stressed that security systems are in place at the ports to detect ganja canisters fitted to the hull of ships.

The Jamaica Constabulary Force’s Anti-Corruption Unit has arrested more than 50 police personnel since January.

The majority were arrested for collecting bribes from motorists who committed traffic offences.Police intelligence has also revealed that drug smugglers are using wreckers, ambulances and established company vehicles to move illegal substances from one point to another.

This was the case on Tuesday night when the police intercepted a yellow courier Hiace van, which belongs to a prominent Kingston-based company.

The narcotics police said 1,050 lb of compressed ganja was found in the van. The driver, who has been with the courier company for the last 13 years, was arrested and charged.

The police said they have now arrested 4,645 persons since the start of the year on drug-related charges. The figure for last year was 5,496.

A prominent St Ann businessman is among the persons arrested. He has been described as one of the major players in the drug trade, and is now awaiting extradition to the United States.

The police said he was picked up in Clarendon last week, shortly after he collected more $2 million from a businessman.

Wilson said recent drug seizures have started to affect the finances of drug dealers.

“Because they are hurting, they have made several threats against us,” he said.

While there has been a lull in cocaine seizure, the police said ganja production continues to increase.