Last week the RMPS reported to the media that there have been a number of suspicious marine activities, which has resulted in the recovery of two foreign registered vessels and a large seizure of suspected narcotics. Several people were detained under the authority of the Immigration Act while four others have been charged with various drug offenses and remanded in custody after appearing before the Magistrate.
Deputy Commissioner Bradley Siddell, provided a report detailing their activities over several days beginning January 24. The report said that on Thursday, January 24, the Marine Department intercepted a Dominican registered fishing vessel believed to be involved in suspicious activity. Four persons of international origin were apprehended under the authority of the Immigration Act. The following days, an extensive joint RMPS Criminal Investigation Department, RMPS Marine Department, RMPS Financial Crimes Unit, and Customs & Revenue Service (MCRS) coordinated enforcement action which included a ground and sea search of the shoreline south of the Volcano in exclusion zone V, plus Foxes Bay, Old Road Bay, and Isles bay.
On January 30, the RMPS completed the ‘operation insertion’ into the exclusion zone resulting in the recovery of two separate burial sites which yielded the seizure of approximately 65 kilos of cocaine, having an estimated approximate street value of over three million dollars. The suspected narcotics were transferred out of Montserrat immediately for safe storage and forensic examination.
The Unites States Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) arrived on Island last week to assist with the post-investigation logistics and international intelligence coordination. Security at the Police Headquarters has been heightened. Derrick Nicholas, Elroy Gussie, Ackmel St. Jean of Dominica, and Juan Vasquez of Venezuela were subsequently charged with the drug possession and importation. The accused persons appeared in Court on Friday, February 1, and remanded into further custody.
Since then, the police on February 1, in the late evening, responded to a vessel that had run aground near Bottomless Ghaut. Three persons from Antigua were held in custody. Although the circumstances of the vessel’s arrival to Montserrat appeared suspicious, they were not found to have contravened any laws, and arrangements were made to assist with their departure back to Antigua.
The following day, in the early morning, the RMPS received a report of a vessel in distress approximately 4 miles off the coast of Montserrat. The Police Vessel Shamrock responded, other vessels arrived to assist, but the vessel in distress marked with the name “God”, was towed to Port due to engine failure…”
The Deputy Commissioner while praising the Service says they are continuing their efforts to limit the incidence of crime and especially drug operations in and around the island. To this end the RMPS is beefing up their call for security measures to be improved.