Regional Firearms Traffic

March 28, 2019 Crime , Opinion , OPINION/NEWS , OTHER , South America

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Ricardo Swire



Trinidad & Tobago Police Service (TTPS) officers have attempted to address an increased murder rate, plus powerful criminal organizations’ expansion and control of drug movement through the Caribbean. On the maritime front Trinidad & Tobago Defense Force (TTDF) Coast Guard resources work aggressively to combat marijuana, cocaine, guns and gasoline exchanges with neighboring Venezuelans for food and other merchandise.


TT$5 worth of flour fetches US$20 across the Gulf. In Caracas gasoline retails at one sixth the Trinidadian pump price. Internal Security officials headquartered in Port of Spain constantly revise national countermeasures to contest the increased Venezuelan pirate fleet sailing the fifteen kilometer Bocas del Dragon straits mostly at night. The waterway separates T&T’s southern peninsula from Venezuela’s north coast.


Select Trinidadian fishermen are contracted as local “eyes and ears” for percentages. Participants are also issued special portable communication radios. Patterns show such pirates use Guiriá in Sucre, Venezuela as main base. The location is epicenter for drugs and guns trafficking. In one document a Trinidadian fisherman reported he was intercepted and kidnapped by five Venezuelan pirates, travelling aboard a high speed watercraft.


The Trinidadian fisherman claimed he was ordered to get on his knees and asked if he spoke Spanish. The pirates towed him with his boat to Guiria, where he was held prisoner for three days. A US$46,000 ransom requested for his return. The kidnappers used WhatsApp to exchange delivery coordinates with his representatives. They made the exchange on open ocean. Records noted several serial numbers of smuggled Venezuelan Guardia Nacional owned AK47 semi automatic assault rifles found in T&T.


Rogue National Guardsmen receive lucrative “vacunas” from T&T’s criminal gangs for high-powered gun sales. One 5.56mm AR15 costs US$7,000. The 7.62mm Belgium made FAL Light Automatic Rifle (LAR) is priced at US$10,000. Varied military grade ammunitions range from US$2 per cartridge. The Cedros waterfront is a favorite transit area. Up to January 2018 the Cedros’ Coast Guard station had no patrol vessels.


An armed Coastguardsman, monitored at the small military base in town, watched a boatload of Venezuelan migrants offload on the beach. One well known trafficker in the Guiria district routinely fronts as a Coconut Oil Vendor. He is actually a logistics specialist who arranges clandestine transport across the Gulf of Paria. Migrants, guns, cocaine and females for prostitution are his trades. In twelve month his operation doubled. Transport vessels increased from one daily voyage to three trips per day.





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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