Trinidad and Tobago Forces Seize Almost 1 Ton of Marijuana
By Guillermo Saavedra/Diálogo October 07, 2020
In mid-August, the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS) seized nearly 1 ton of marijuana in the north of the island of Trinidad. According to an August 13 TTPS press release, the drug, which was found inside a container coming from the port of Port of Spain, is believed to belong to a criminal gang with connections in Jamaica, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada.
“On searching the container, officers found 958 boxes containing a compressed material resembling marijuana, which weighed 947.64 kilograms,” the TTPS said in the press release. Authorities detained eight people during the operation.
According to the U.S. Department of State’s 2020 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report, Trinidad and Tobago’s proximity to Venezuela and strategic location on the Caribbean Sea have made it an ideal location for the transshipment of illicit drugs coming from Latin America, mainly marijuana and cocaine, to North America and Europe.
In mid-July, authorities in Philadelphia sentenced a Venezuelan man to more than 12 years in prison for narcotrafficking, the Venezuelan news portal Primer Informe reported. According to the online newspaper, the Venezuelan national had tried to import more than 30 kg of cocaine from Venezuela to the United States, passing through Trinidad and Tobago. Authorities detained the man in the Caribbean country, and he was extradited to the United States.
In late April, the Trinidad and Tobago Coast Guard retrieved 221 bags of drugs (102.1 kg of marijuana and 82.7 kg of cocaine) that had been jettisoned at sea after a chase in the Gulf of Paria, located between Trinidad and Venezuela, the Trinidadian news portal Loop News reported. The vessel managed to escape to Venezuelan territorial waters.
According to InSight Crime, an organization specializing in security threats in Latin America and the Caribbean, the worsening of Venezuela’s crisis has also contributed to the crime situation in Trinidad and Tobago. In mid-May 2019, InSight Crime reported that Evander, a Venezuelan criminal gang also known as Deltano Liberation Front, had turned up in the Caribbean nation. The gang, InSight Crime said, is believed to control a portion of drug, arms, and human trafficking in Delta Amacuro state, a Venezuelan port area near Trinidad and Tobago.
“Venezuela’s economic situation and the Delta Amacuro’s close proximity to Trinidad and Tobago have provided the perfect dynamic for them to reach the neighboring country, seeking to expand and cooperate with local criminal groups interested in trafficking [illicit goods] from Venezuela,” InSight Crime reported.