Tue | Aug 4, 2020

Ninth St James businessman held in $26m cocaine bust

Published:Tuesday | July 7, 2020 | 12:29 AMHopeton Bucknor/Gleaner Writer

Western Bureau:

Days after a major operation in which eight St James men were arrested for their suspected involvement in an international drug syndicate, another man has been nabbed as cops made a $26-million cocaine seizure on the weekend.

Reports are that at approximately 11 p.m. on Saturday, narcotics police intercepted an Isuzu motor truck, which was being driven by the unnamed businessman, along a section of the Salem main road in St Ann. During a search of the vehicle, 45 pounds of cocaine was reportedly found in 19 parcels.

The police also seized his licensed firearm and several rounds of ammunition, along with J$86,000 and US$1,400.

On Sunday, the lawmen took the businessman to his home in Irwin, St James, where they confiscated an additional forty-five 9mm cartridges, three high-end vehicles, and cash amounting to J$750,000. Other items they believe can assist their investigations were also seized.

Catherine Mount operation

“Based on our preliminary investigations, we believe we have found enough evidence to link this businessman to an operation that we carried out in Catherine Mount, St James, where we arrested eight men,” a police source told The Gleaner. “Those men, we have reasons to believe, are linked to the three St James police officers who were recently arrested and charged in the United States.”

In the operation in Catherine Mount last Wednesday – which also took the police to several properties across the parish – eight men were taken in custody and documents, a licensed firearm, and high-end vehicles seized. That operation was led by members of the Counter-Terrorism and Organised Crime Unit along with the United States Drug Enforcement Administration, the police and the military.

“The target was drug kingpins and lottery scammers operating under the names ‘The O5 Crew’ and ‘Marvin Network’,” a lawman told The Gleaner. “While we have not yet laid charges against these men, we are satisfied that we found the persons who we wanted.”

After being off the drug radar for quite some time, St James rolled back into the spotlight late last month when three St James-based cops were arrested in the United States after they were allegedly held with cocaine. The officers – Woman Constable Shermain Latoya Gooden, Constable Dremar Graham and Constable Trevonne Davidson – are still in custody in the US.

Based on an affidavit released by the US authorities, Gooden has waived her Miranda rights and has been providing full cooperation.