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CoP Commends Officers for Role in Apprehension of International Drug Trafficker

Commissioner Erla Christopher praised police intelligence for playing a crucial role in breaking up a major international drug ring, leading to the arrest of an international criminal.

Commissioner of Police, Erla Christopher, commends the invaluable contribution of police intelligence units in the successful dismantling of a prominent international drug trafficking network, resulting in the apprehension of an international criminal.

On 5th April, 2024, the Spanish National Police, in collaboration with international agencies such as the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the National Crime Agency (NCA), and law enforcement from the Netherlands, France, Ireland, Trinidad and Tobago, along with other regional and international law enforcement agencies successfully dismantled a prominent international drug trafficking network. This criminal organization, operating primarily in the Spanish Levante area, was intercepted while transporting a ton of cocaine via sailboat from Suriname to Valencia.

The operation resulted in the seizure of 1,165 kilograms of cocaine hidden aboard a sailboat, with another ton of the narcotic substance intercepted. A total of 31 individuals associated with the organization were arrested, while assets totalling ten million euros were seized, including three boats valued at 4.2 million euros, 44 vehicles, 40 branded watches, 60 works of art, 54 mobile phones, and a virtual cryptocurrency wallet. Additionally, 44 properties were seized and 74 bank accounts were blocked.

This operation, initiated in mid-2022, involved cooperation among many regional and international arms of law enforcement. The arrest of the international criminal was a significant breakthrough in the fight against transnational organized crime. The Trinidad and Tobago Police Service played a pivotal role in this operation by providing crucial intelligence on the crew and the said sailboat involved in the drug trafficking operation.
The vessel implicated in the drug trafficking operation, arrived in Trinidad and Tobago in April 2023, with four crew members from Suriname.

A TTPS intelligence unit diligently monitored the crew and the vessel while docked at Chaguaramas, contributing significantly to the success of the operation. Their meticulous work filled critical gaps in the intelligence framework and facilitated the development of key relationships with foreign partners based on the information provided.

CoP Christopher praised the dedication and professionalism of the officers involved, stating, “The outstanding work done by the officers in the apprehension of this notorious international criminal, demonstrates Trinidad and Tobago’s unwavering commitment to global security. When we help dismantle the international criminal networks who ply their trade in our jurisdiction, we help ourselves, as we weaken the regional and local drug trafficking networks and reduce the impact of transnational organized crime. The TTPS stands ready and able to play its role in supporting complex international criminal investigations.”

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