BRADES, Montserrat, CMC – Montserrat police say they have made “significant” progress in anti-smuggling drug operations and border security initiatives over the past few weeks.
Deputy Commissioner Bradley Siddell said there have been a number of suspicious marine activities, which has resulted in the recovery of two foreign registered vessels and a large seizure of suspected narcotics.
He said several people have been detained under the Immigration Act while four others have been charged with various drug offenses and remanded in custody pending further court appearances.
The police said that late last month, the Marine Department intercepted a Dominican registered fishing vessel and that four people of international origin were detained.
The authorities said that on January 30, they found two separate burial sites, discovering and seizing approximately 65 kilos of cocaine with a street value in excess of three million (EC) dollars (One EC dollar = US$0.37 cents).
It said that the drugs were “transferred out of Montserrat ...for safe storage and forensic examination” and that officials from the United States Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) have arrived here to assist with the investigations.
A government statement said that security at the Police Headquarters has been heightened in light of the discovery and that four men -Derrick Nicholas, Elroy Gussie, Ackmel St. Jean of Dominica, and Juan Vasquez of Venezuela – have since appeared in court.
The police said that they have also detained three nationals from Antigua and Barbuda after responding to a distress call that a vessel had run aground near Bottomless Ghaut late last week.
“Although the circumstances of the vessel’s arrival to Montserrat appeared suspicious, they were not found to have contravened any laws. Arrangements are being made to assist with their departure to Antigua.”