Thu | Dec 12, 2019

Small-time drug traffickers using courier services

Published:Saturday | June 23, 2018 | 12:00 AMCorey Robinson/Gleaner Writer
From left: Sheldon Coulson, detective inspector of police at the JCF Narcotics Division Jamaica; Dr Kevin Goulbourne, acting director of mental health and substance abuse at the Ministry of Health; and Collette Kirlew, director of client services at the National Council on Drug Abuse Secretariat, exchange pleasantries during a press conference to announce that the United Nations ‘International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking’ will be celebrated on June 26, 2018. The press briefing was held at the Ministry of National Security’s offices on Oxford Road, St Andrew, yesterday.

Criminals are using the addresses and other credentials of unsuspecting Jamaicans to send drugs through courier and postal services, and the police say that they are catching up on the trend.

Speaking at a press conference put on by the Ministry of National Security to mark the United Nations 'International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking' next Tuesday, Detective inspector Sheldon Coulson of the Narcotics Division said that the trend has been posing several challenges to law enforcement.

"You have small-time traffickers who are sending small amounts of drugs through courier services often. If an individual should purchase a J$100-bag of marijuana and pay approximately $2,500 or $3,000 to get it into the USA or Eastern Caribbean, they can fetch anywhere between US$100 and US$150," said Coulson.

"So the gains are there. If they can send 20 of those for the week and 10 go undetected, you begin to see how lucrative that aspect of the business is," continued Coulsen, who, yesterday, could not speak to the number of such cases under investigation.


Random addresses


He explained, however, that the trend has prompted law-enforcement to work more closely with courier services and other stakeholders to find ways to tighten the loopholes.

"The criminals just pick an address. It could be my address, it could be your address, from which they send the packages," he said. "So if you see policemen from the Narcotics Division turn up at your gate, it could be because of the address that (the criminals) use," he said, noting that drugs have been detected in picture frames in packages destined for overseas.

"We have sought to engage the courier services to tell them what the challenges are and to see how we can fix them. One of the challenges we have is how packages are sent, in terms of identification," continued Coulson. "Without detection, the investigation becomes a problem. We can't identify anybody. So those are systems that we are trying to ensure that we fix," he said, noting that the postal agencies were also targets.