Hot Spot

June 26, 2017 Crime , North America , OPINION/NEWS

Reuters photo

 

By

Ricardo Swire

 

The Caribbean is regarded by transnational narco-traffickers as the premier destination for laundering drugs income, such net inflow amounting to approximately US$6 billion, equivalent to two point three percent of the Caribbean’s Gross Domestic Product.

International law enforcement agencies harbor strong concerns about mounting evidence of St Lucia as CARICOM’s drug transit “hot spot.” St Lucia plus Trinidad & Tobago (T&T) are part of the “Eastern Corridor,” where heroin and cocaine transit en route to Puerto Rico (PR).

Patterns denote St Lucia’s role as stellar CARICOM transit hot spot is personified as creative smuggling, utilizing select sea and air resources. On June 11, 2017 this prominence was demonstrated when a wheelchair passenger, arriving at John F Kennedy (JFK) International Airport from Hewanorra International Airport near Vieux Fort Quarter St Lucia, was intercepted. After a brief observation and discussion US Customs & Border Protection (CBP) officers searched the returning American citizen’s wheelchair, its back seat cushion appeared abnormal and when removed unusually heavy. CBP officers cut open the cushion and found twenty-seven pounds of cocaine worth US$468,000.

A Royal St Lucia Police Force (RSLPF) Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) detailed a previous operation that focused on the island’s northern district. During the intelligence guided coastal patrol maritime officers encountered a vessel named “Tagora” moored in Rodney Bay on the northwestern coast, north of Choc Bay. Aboard the vessel a RSLP search team found one compartment with freshly applied fabric. Hidden inside were large packages containing one hundred smaller parcels wrapped in black plastic. The compendiums collectively contained one hundred and nine point six kilos of cocaine worth EC$2.7 million. Officers impounded the Tagora and arrested its single crewman a French national.

On April 26, 2016 a LIAT flight from St Lucia was surveilled on arrival at Grantley Adams International Airport (GAIA). Acting on the intelligence brief Royal Barbados Police Force (RBPF) Drug Squad detectives located a thirty-three year old St Lucian LIAT Air Hostess and ushered her to GAIA’s Customs area for a search. Law enforcers found five kilos of cocaine in her carryon bag. Drug Squad detectives also executed a search warrant at the airline employee’s Barbados residence and discovered one point three grams of marijuana.

St Lucia’s purpose, as main CARICOM way-station, is additionally dramatized by the twenty-two year old female national intercepted at Gatwick International Airport by UK Border Force officers. The passenger was stopped after she deplaned a flight from Hewanorra International Airport, St Lucia. The UK’s Border Force Regional Director reported when officers searched the islander she was carrying three hundred and forty kilograms of cocaine. National Crime Agency Border Policing Command officers charged the St Lucian drug mule with “attempting to import Class A drugs.”

 

 

 

 

Ricardo Swire - Tuck Magazine

Ricardo Swire

Ricardo Swire is the Principal Consultant at R-L-H Security Consultants & Business Support Services and writes on a number of important issues.

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