Drugs shipment clampdown

Four port employees are among five people charged in connection with a major drug bust at Kingston Freeport Terminal last month.

The Jamaica Observer has learnt that on February 11, the Jamaica Customs Contraband Enforcement Team and police from the Narcotics Division were conducting operations on the port when they found 14 bags with compressed ganja, weighing more than 1,500 pounds, hidden in a container. The confiscated ganja has been valued at $6.1 million.

The ganja was hidden in a transshipment container which arrived in Jamaica from Mexico with its destination being Toronto, Canada.

Following investigations, the police discovered that the ganja had been taken onto the port by a 38-year-old technician from Seaview Gardens, Kingston 11.

According to the police the technician, whose name is being withheld, was allowed safe passage, and escorted by members of the port security guards. A crane operator then removed the Mexican containers from their positions and allowed the courier to hide the bags with the ganja before replacing the containers.

“This was a well-organised operation that could not have been successful without collusion among port workers. It has been a long-standing trend for drug traffickers to contaminate legitimate cargo,” a police source told the Observer.

He said the narcotics police are determined to work with their local and international partners to “put a dent in drug trafficking activities, especially as it relates to Jamaica’s ports”.

The police source pointed out that since the start of this week two major drug busts have been made at the ports.

On Monday, six containers, which arrived from Guyana en route to Haiti and China, were searched and 122 packages of a white substance believed to be cocaine were found in two of the containers.

The packages were seized and the containers detained. No one was arrested in connection with the seizure. The source said the cocaine, which weighed 139.4 kilograms, has an estimated street value of US$6.59 million.

The drug busts continued yesterday when police were alerted that a ship coming from Panama had a container onboard which contained narcotics.

The ship was searched and two containers were found to contain a substance believed to be cocaine.

It is believed that more that 139 kilograms of cocaine, valued at almost US$7 million, was in the shipment. No one was arrested.

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