Mon | Oct 23, 2017

Jamaicans using foreigners to smuggle drugs

Published:Sunday | October 30, 2016 | 12:00 AMCorey Robinson
Overall, the Narcotics Division has seized some 1,005 kilograms of cocaine, 26,000 kilograms of marijuana and about 4,500 kilograms of hashish.

More and more foreign citizens, some unknowingly, are being lured into the transnational drug networks in Jamaica, and the Narcotics Division intends to put a serious dent into this worrying trend.

Head of the Narcotics Division, Senior Superintendent McArthur Sutherland, last week expressed concern about the nature of some of the drug busts his office has made since the start of the year.

"Quite a number of them (foreign nationals) are offered vacation here with a particular motive. Some of them are sent on vacation, and then they (criminals) give them gifts to take back up, and the gifts turn out to be cocaine," Sutherland told The Sunday Gleaner.

"Some of them don't know what they are getting into, while some are part of the plan. Most of the cases with these foreign nationals are with cocaine, while, with the locals, they will take the ganja to Barbados, Antigua, the Dominican Republic - they target mostly the Caribbean islands with the ganja."

Sutherland explained that in some cases, the criminals, many of whom are Jamaicans living abroad, purchase travel tickets and pay for hotel accommodations and other expenses for the smugglers.

"The syndicates have their networks. Some of these guys would have even lived abroad before. In one instance, one of the persons was a British national and he was found with contraband for export. He was linking up with a Jamaican and both of them were linking up with a deportee who was also from England," explained Sutherland, alluding to the intricacy of some of the operations.

"Most times, these are deportees who would have established themselves abroad already, building their network, and have returned to Jamaica where they have other criminal connections."

NARCOTICS STATISTICS

Since the start of the year, 832 drug offenders have been collared in Narcotics Division-led operations.

Of that number, 51 were foreign nationals - 15 were British, 12 Canadians, eight Costa Ricans, five Americans, three Vincentians, three Bahamians, one each from Trinidad, Antigua, Guyana, Haiti and France; and 781 were Jamaicans.

Ten foreign nationals were arrested in the month of August, while 116 Jamaicans were arrested in September.

Overall, the Narcotics Division has seized some 1,005 kilograms of cocaine, 26,000 kilograms of marijuana and about 4,500 kilograms of hashish.

Meanwhile, the Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston was the scene for most of the arrests at the controlled ports with 106, while the Sangster International Airport in St James saw 31, and the seaports accounted for five.

corey.robinson@gleanerjm.com