Massive gun and ammo find
Glenroy Sinclair and Arthur Hall, Senior Staff Reporters
Inspector Steve Brown of the Jamaica Constabulary Force, yesterday, briefing members of the media on the guns and ammunition found at Port Bustamante in Kingston on Monday. The briefing was held at the Police Narcotics Department. - Ricardo Makyn/Staff Photographer
WITH 14 days into the new year, the island's security forces have seized more than 1,000 assorted rounds of ammunition and at least 27 illegal firearms, including four high-powered weapons and a number of semi-automatic pistols.
The cracks in the existing security system at Port Bustamante were tested on Monday, when a Jamaican connection in New York sent a shipment containing 12 illegal guns and more than 700 rounds of ammunition.
Up to late Tuesday, two women and a man were taken into police custody and were being questioned in connection with the massive gun and ammunition find. The women, whose names are being withheld, were picked up in Portmore, St Catherine, hours after the guns and ammunition were found.
Meanwhile, the man was arrested at Port Bustamante. His name has also not been released by the investigators. It is alleged that the guns were destined for one of the powerhouse gangs in St Catherine.
Seizures alone not enough
"We are not satisfied with seizures alone, but are determined to seek out and arrest those involved locally and overseas," acting Commissioner of Police Owen Ellington said on Tuesday.
According to Ellington, he was particularly pleased with the follow-up work done, which led to the arrest of the two women in Portmore.
"This case is very important and the conduct of the operation demonstrates that our police understand the significance of what they are sworn to do," he said.
On Monday, members of the Contraband Enforcement Team (CET) and the Transnational Crime and Narcotics Division were alerted to a shipment at Port Bustamante.
The cargo was declared as containing two barrels, one 30-gallon compressor, one vacuum cleaner and one power washer. However, an X-ray revealed that the compressor had some inconsistencies.
The entire shipment was detained and taken to the CET office where the compressor was cut open and the muzzle of a rifle seen. Further inspection revealed the other guns and the ammunition.
In the meantime, Deputy Commissioner of Police Glenmore Hinds said the Jamaica Constabulary Force was working in collaboration with one of the agencies in the United States, in tracking the overseas source responsible for exporting Monday's cache of guns and ammunition.
Vice-president of the Port Authority of Jamaica (PAJ), who is responsible for security at the port, Deputy Commissioner Linval Bailey, boasted that there has been a significant improvement in security at the sea ports.
"We have a state-of-the-art security system in place; it is much more difficult now to smuggle contrabands through the sea ports. We have tightened up security," said DCP Bailey, who is on secondment to the PAJ.
Details of the guns and ammunition seized on Monday:
1. One .44 pistol
2. One AK-47 rifle
3. One AK-47
4. Desert Eagle 9mm pistol
5. Desert Eagle 9mm pistol
6. One Mack 11 SMG
7. One Glock 27 pistol
8. One 9mm Smith and Wesson pistol
9. One 9mm Taurus pistol
10. One Luger P95 9mm pistol
11. One Sites Spec TRE HC pistol
12. One Keltek submachine gun
Five hundred and nineteen 9mm rounds
Fifty .40 rounds
Fifty-one .45 rounds
Fifty-one .44 rounds
Thirty-two .50 rounds
Six .357 rounds
One .223 rounds
Ten .380 rounds