Sun | Oct 2, 2022

Cops say J$600m seized in narco operation

Published:Saturday | April 30, 2022 | 12:09 AMChristopher Thomas/Gleaner Writer

WESTERN BUREAU:

The Jamaica Constabulary Force is remaining tight-lipped on its probe into the discovery of a huge stash of foreign currencies totalling approximately J$600 million, which it seized during an operation in western Jamaica earlier this week.

The tally of US$3.8 million and CDN$30,000 was confirmed on Thursday night after two days of counting, following their seizure at a three-storey house in Coral Gardens, St James, on Tuesday.

The final figure for the US currency is significantly less than the figures of US$5 million and later US$7 million, which had initially been put forward as the possible sum of the cash.

When contacted yesterday, Senior Superintendent Stephanie Lindsay, head of the police’s Corporate Communications Unit, told The Gleaner that she was not prepared to make any additional comments on the seizure.

“I am not in a position to comment on it right now, because I need to talk back to some persons who are close to the investigation. We just sent out a release [regarding the monetary figure],” Lindsay said in a brief statement.

Senior Superintendent Vernon Ellis, who heads the St James Police Division, was also hesitant to comment on the current state of the investigation.

Efforts were also made to contact Assistant Commissioner Clifford Chambers, head of the Area One Police Division, but up to news time, he had not responded to requests for a comment.

In a media release Friday morning, the police was said that the house where the cash was found is believed to be owned by a man who is well known in western Jamaica.

Two days earlier, Chambers had indicated that the homeowner, who was not publicly identified, had previously been the subject of an extradition request from the United States.

“Two persons have since been arrested, while the owner of the house, who was the subject of a drug extradition request from the United States in 2005, is being sought. A high-level investigation is now in train, which extends beyond the shores of Jamaica,” Chambers said at the time, though he did not then indicate which jurisdictions may get involved in the probe.

In addition to the money bust, Tuesday’s operation resulted in the seizure of US$500,000 worth of cocaine and the arrest of a 46-year-old businessman in whose possession the drug was reportedly found.

The businessman was taken into custody by the police after a vehicle he was reportedly driving was searched and found to contain 11 kilograms of cocaine. To date, the man’s identity has not been released.

Additionally, a 29-year-old female bartender was arrested in Whitehouse, Westmoreland, after she was reportedly held with a quantity of ganja during one of several secondary operations, which have also expanded to include St Elizabeth.

christopher.thomas@gleanerjm.com