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Lawmen tipped off before gun find on bus

Published:Thursday | July 4, 2013 | 12:00 AM

Gareth Davis Sr, Gleaner Writer

Port Antonio, Portland:

Six male suspects, including an alleged mastermind, are to be questioned by the police in the presence of their attorney, following the seizure of 18 guns and a large quantity of assorted ammunition in Portland on Tuesday.

The weapons - 10 pistols, five revolvers, two shotguns, and one Intratech sub-machine gun, along with 1,279 assorted rounds of ammunition - were recovered shortly after 2 p.m., after a Toyota minibus was stopped and searched in Buff Bay by the lawmen.

The find followed a two-day special operation by the Portland police, with assistance from the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF).

Police sources have indicated that a fishing boat destined for Jamaica, which was en route from Haiti, was being closely monitored by officers aboard a JDF Coast Guard vessel after receiving a tip that the boat was transporting guns and ammunition.

The fishing boat reportedly docked along a beach near San San - approximately five miles from Port Antonio - in the dead of night on Tuesday, and the guns were taken ashore.

A man, who was reportedly on the beach, was arrested but he told the lawmen that he was only paid to watch the boat and he was not aware of any suspicious activity.

BUS TRAILED

It was later discovered that the guns and ammunition were loaded into a minibus from Spanish Town, St Catherine, which was later spotted traveling along a roadway. The police, who were hot on the trail of the bus, intercepted the vehicle in Buff Bay, where it was pulled over and searched.

Among the ammunition were rounds for .45, .40, and .35 pistols.

The six men, who are believed to be from Kingston, Clarendon, and Bull Bay in St Thomas, were arrested in connection with the seizure. Their names are being withheld pending further investigations.

The infamous drugs-for-guns trade between local fishermen and their counterparts in Haiti has been dealt a major blow in recent times, as the Portland police have seized approximately 10,000lbs of compressed ganja over the past six months. The police have also beefed up their operations along the costal areas of Manchioneal, Long Bay, Hectors River, Bryans Bay, and Hope Bay.

rural@gleanerjm.com