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Arms probe in limbo

Published:Sunday | February 7, 2010 | 2:00 AM

Tyrone Reid, Sunday Gleaner Reporter

Local police yet to conclude investigation to determine who was responsible for the blunder

ALMOST eight months after the United States government convicted the illegal arms dealer, Lance Brooks, hired by the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) to broker a multi-million ammunition deal, the police are still struggling to conclude an internal investigation into the circumstances that led to the hiring of a confessed criminal to supply bullets to the constabulary.

It seems the JCF is not in a hurry to reveal who made the error that embarrassed high-ranking members of the force. A letter from the Ministry of National Security said the "investigation into the matter is not yet complete".

When approached on Friday at a press conference staged to update the media on last week's mega gun and ammo find involving a police sergeant, Deputy Commissioner of Police in charge of administration, Jevene Bent, refused to comment on the matter.

police blunder

However, in a Sunday Gleaner exclusive published on September 7, 2008, Bent confessed that the police had blundered in hiring Brooks. At the time, the senior officer also revealed that an investigation to ascertain where the error had occurred was under way. Exactly one year and five months after that announcement, the internal investigation has not been completed.

The constabulary's tardiness in getting to the bottom of this ammunition affair has once again raised questions about the JCF's investigative capabilities and the wisdom behind the police investigating the police.

Meanwhile, the US Department of Justice informed The Sunday Gleaner that Lance Brooks, owner and operator of Taylor and Associates - an arms-brokering business in Lauderhill, Florida - was sentenced on May 22, 2009, to 12 months in prison and 36 months supervised release. "According to the BOP website, the defendant is located at FCI Coleman Low," said Alicia Valle, special counsel to the United States Attorney.

Brooks was charged with knowingly and wilfully brokering the sale of 150,000 rounds of .38 Jacketed Soft Point ammunition, 20,000 rounds of .380 Jacketed Soft Point ammunition, and 100,000 rounds of .223 55 grain Jacketed Soft Point ammunition to Jamaica, without first having registered with and obtaining a licence from the United States Department of State, Directorate of Defence Trade Controls.

tyrone.reid@gleanerjm.com