Record Drug Hall - 17 Oct 02
A Jamaica Defence Force Helicopter packed with bails of
cocaine seized in Belmont, Westmoreland yesterday.
The drugs were flown to Kingston.
In what is being bailed as the largest drug bust in the nation’s history, just over 1.227 kilos
(2,700 pounds) of cocaine valued at J$339 million (J$37 million) was seized
by the narcotics police in Belmont, Westmoreland yesterday.
The police also seized a
35-foot speed boat with two 200 horsepower engines; two satellite phones; a
cellular phone; two letters written in Spanish and a map of South America,
with certain sections of it highlighted in bright coloured ink.
The find was a joint effort between the Colombian police and about 30
personnel from the Area One Narcotics Police and their counterparts at
Narcotics Headquarters and the Area Three and Westmoreland police. Police
claim yesterday’s bust has crippled a major drug network between Colombian
and Jamaican cartels.
Commenting on the seizure, head of Narcotics Divisions, Senior
Superintendent Carl Williams said: “This is the biggest drug bust we have
ever had, but first and foremost, I want to publicly commend the Narcotics
police and the Jamaica Defence Force for a job well done. They went above
and beyond. They stayed with it, even when it seemed there was not going to
be a success, they persevered and I am very pleased with their performance,
” he said.
The operation was carried out in Belmont, a district close to Bluefields,
The police also seized 11.3 kilos (25 pounds) of cured ganja wrapped in
packages mid ready for the streets, but no arrests were made in connection
with the seize.
Senior Supt. Williams said the investigation was just developing. “In drug
matters, arrests don’t necessarily happen at the same time as a seizure.”
Since January, police have seized 4,877 pounds of cocaine in different parts
of the island.
The police party had been lying in swampy lands in Westmoreland from as
early as 8:30 p.m. on Monday, but the operation actually lasted for about 11
hours. According to Corporal Alva Douglas, the Constabulary
Communications Network officer for Westmoreland, at about 7:30 a.m.
yesterday, Narcotics officers in conjunction with the JDF raided a house at
Belmont where they seized 43 bails of cocaine weighing 1,227 kilograms with
a street value of more than $300 million. However, narcotics agents said,
had the drug reached its destination in the US or the United Kingdom, its
value would have tripled.
But even as a police party moved the contraband from the Bluefields Station
to a JDF helicopter a few chains away under tight security, scores of
residents converged at different sections of the road and made disparaging
comments about the lawmen, stating they wanted some of it”.
Sen. Supt. Williams said the Narcotics Police and JDF personnel were able to
pick up the speed boat at sea, after it was tracked from South America.
They kept it under surveillance until it docked in Belmont where the
traffickers unloaded the contraband and placed it in a house.
He said the police stayed with it all night until daybreak when they were
able to move in and seize it.
“The boat and other equipment found are now in police custody and we are
going to be pursuing our investigations,” he noted.
Commenting on the satellite phones seized, Sen. Supt. Williams said the
traffickers were able to by-pass local telecommunications networks and link
the caller and the receiving party without possible outside interference.
Meanwhile, speaking in Kingston yesterday, the newly appointed US Ambassador
to Jamaica, Sue Cobb, said her government would provide Jamaica with high-tech
equipment to boost the detection of guns and contraband at the island’s