Caribbean Neighbourhood Watch

Reuters photo

 

By

Ricardo Swire

 

 

A routine Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) Coast Guard patrol recently intercepted seven hundred and sixty-five pounds of marijuana worth US$2.4 million, one pound valued minimum US$3,200 on American markets. A blue motorized boat, operated by three crew members, navigated suspiciously in waters off the Westmoreland coast on Jamaica’s southern side. After Coast Guard vessel HMJS Cornwall stopped and boarded the boat, Coastguardsmen found two Jamaicans and one Haitian aboard, with eleven contraband packages. Five jettisoned parcels were retrieved from the ocean.

 

Such clandestine activity follows a specific 2014 Jamaica/Haiti organized crime pattern. The year Haitian National Police (HNP) supported by the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) detained twenty Jamaicans, in Haiti’s southern town Les Cayes, on transnational drug and gun trafficking charges. Jamaican and Haitian law enforcement colleagues have forged a close bond, with ambitions to counteract the thriving guns-for-drugs trade, between the two Caribbean neighbors.

 

On one mission the Jamaica Constabulary Force’s (JCF) National Intelligence Bureau shared real-time data with a fifteen member HNP Counter-Narcotics Squad, assigned to Ile A Veach, Haiti’s southern town. A September 2015 JCF report noted thirteen guns, comprised of semi-automatic rifles and pistols in route to Jamaica, were intercepted by HNP officers in southern Haiti. Two thousand five hundred pounds of marijuana also seized.

 

Haitian gunrunners occasionally land supplies on Hellshire Beach in Portmore, Jamaica, across the harbour from Kingston. During one intelligence-driven special operation JCF Drug Squad detectives found six hundred and thirty pounds of marijuana, stashed along the Manchioneal Beach in Portland, on Jamaica’s northeast coast. The export awaited transportation aboard a “go-fast” boat, destined for either Haiti or the Bahamas. In October 2016 HNP counter-narcotics officers seized one hundred new high powered firearms and hundreds of assorted ammunitions destined for Jamaica’s gangland.

 

In June 2017 Kingston Eastern Police Division detectives confiscated a “Galil ACE” assault rifle. The Israel Weapons Industries gas operated, selective fire rifle was discovered after law enforcers responded to a 2:00am report, of a shootout between warring gangs in Rockfort community on the eastern edge of Kingston. A ballistic test verified the Galil ACE was registered to a HNP officer and is officially reported missing. Jamaican intelligence officials found proof the 5.56mm/7.62mm calibre variant NATO firearm, with multiple barrel lengths for each type, arrived in Jamaica as a product of the drugs-for-guns trade between the two Caribbean islands.

 

 

 

 

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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