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Airport mystery


MONTEGO BAY, St James — Head of Police Area One, Assistant Commissioner Clifford Chambers says a lesson should be learnt from last week’s arrest of an American citizen at New York’s John F Kennedy International Airport after a handgun, cocaine and marijuana were found in his luggage when he arrived on a flight from Montego Bay, Jamaica.

“All in all when there is a breach, to me, it is a lesson and once something is breached, the way it is breached ought not to be repeated because lessons would have normally been learnt from that,” said Chambers.

“If it is a licensed firearm coming in and it is not documented, our system and structures at the port of entry should be able to identify it before it is flagged at the arrival country. It speaks to gaps in the system of control [at the] port of entry and so I really think that the airport authorities really need to have a closer look at the system and structures which are there to guard against this thing happening again,” added Chambers, describing the system failure as regrettable.

“It’s very unfortunate with regard to these seizures, given that they left our country. One must note, though, that in regard to inspection of the scanning equipment at the airport, our local law enforcement operatives have nothing to do with that.

“But that being said, it is very unfortunate because illegal or legal items coming in and going out is something that we should be in full control knowledge of. So even if a person is moving outside the country with a legal firearm, full knowledge of it ought to be known and documented,” declared Chambers.

The senior police officer argued that the narcotics police have an excellent record of detecting drugs leaving our shores, but traffickers continue to employ creative means.

“I am sure that the narcotics team are aware of the various means that persons can use, and are using, to beat the system. Whilst we cannot say it is 100 per cent foolproof, we know that our record in detecting drugs going out of the country is very, very good. And so we just encourage the officers to continue to be alert of the methodologies which are being used by these players to get things out of the country,” Campbell stated.

When contacted, Shane Munroe, chief executive officer of MBJ Airports Limited, the operators of Sangster International Airport, was terse in his response to the incident.

“There hasn’t been any development since that press release yesterday [Tuesday]. There is nothing new to add at this time,” said Munroe.

Last week US Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) revealed that Elijiah Davis was arrested at New York’s John F Kennedy International Airport after authorities found a handgun, cocaine and marijuana in his luggage when he arrived on a flight from Jamaica.

CBP said during examination last Friday, its officers discovered a handgun along with 40 nine-millimetre rounds in a hard case box. While continuing their inspection the CBP officers determined that the empty carry-on bags felt unusually heavy.

The officers reportedly discovered an anomaly after conducting an X-ray of the carry-on bag and escorted Davis to a private search room where it is said that they discovered packages within the panels of the carry-on bag.

The packages were probed, revealing a white powder that tested positive for cocaine.

During further examination of Davis’s checked in bag, CBP officers said they also discovered a small bag of green leafy substance, which tested positive for marijuana.

Davis was arrested for the importation of a controlled substance and firearm. The cocaine weighed approximately 10 pounds with an estimated value of US$300,000.

Davis now faces federal narcotics smuggling charges and will be prosecuted by the US Attorney’s Office in the US Eastern District Court of New York.

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