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JamaicaObserver | Smuggling drugs

HomeMediaJamaicaObserver | Smuggling drugs

By Kimone Francis

This t-shirt was soaked in liquidised cocaine then dried and prepared for shipment. The countries that are mostly targeted by these smugglers are within the Caribbean: Trinidad, Barbados and Curacao, with Curacao being the main one

THE many ways in which people attempt to smuggle drugs into and out of the island are near, if not, inconceivable, a lawman is contending.

Sergeant at the Jamaica Constabulary Force’s (JCF) Narcotics Division, Jermaine Folkes shared with the Jamaica Observer North East last Tuesday, during a JCF forum put on in Portland to discuss the ills of domestic violence and its prevention, that drug syndicates have tried almost every way humanly possible to smuggle drugs.

In excess of 800 drug offenders, including foreigners, were nabbed last year in operations conducted by the division. Folkes said targeted countries for shipping are mainly those in the Caribbean and North America.

“The countries that are mostly targeted by these smugglers are within the Caribbean: Trinidad, Barbados and Curacao, with Curacao being the main one. We find that most people try to smuggle ganja there as well as they bring back cocaine. As it relates to North America, we find that a lot of people try to smuggle drugs into the United States as well as Canada. Europe is also a target for smugglers,” Folkes said.

He explained that one of the most unimaginable ways includes liquidiSing the cocaine, soaking items of clothing in it, then drying the clothes. If it reaches its intended destination, the clothes are then wet again to extract the drug. The liquid extracted is then dried. Other ways include smuggling ganja in unbroken coconuts, uncracked nutmegs, picture frames, floor mats, laptops, and postcards, to name a few.

An attempt was made to smuggle ganja using this postcard..
The heel of this sneaker was stuffed with cocaine for shipment..
The battery of this laptop was removed and replaced with cocaine..
These bulla cakes were stuffed with ganja for shipment..
The eye of this coconut was removed and the meat extracted to create space for ganja, with which it was stuffed. The eye was then glued back in..
Sergeant at the Jamaica Constabulary Force’s Narcotics Division, Jermaine Folkes shows residents a mat filled with ganja. (Photos: Kenyon Hemans)

Folkes said the division, which has agencies strategically located across the island, including at the airports and seaports, conducts checks on a daily basis.

“A number of the items that we have discovered had various means of concealment. On a daily basis we come across stuff like these. We may not have an arrest or detection every single day, but for any given week you can expect to find someone trying to smuggle drugs for that week,” he said.

The sergeant also confirmed that the couriers are predominantly those who are vulnerable or are among the less fortunate in society. He said it has been discovered repeatedly that people from depressed communities, majority of whom are women and teenagers, are the targets, with women mostly ingesting the drugs.

“Some of the excuses are that it was a last resort, they are unemployed and had nothing to do and they got an offer, and it was so attractive they couldn’t resist. In recent times we haven’t seen much children — teenagers, yes, but not children,” he added.

In the meantime, Folkes said that there is usually no trouble getting convictions when offenders are arrested and charged.

“With most drug offences it’s pretty clear-cut. We find you in possession of illegal substance then arrest and charge you and put you before the courts. A lot of the times it’s pretty straightforward, so proving that offence is easy and it’s pretty easy for the courts to determine innocence and guilt.

“There are instances where persons have been found in possession of drugs and from the get-go they indicate that they had no knowledge of it and they are able to prove without a doubt that they in fact did not have knowledge of it. This is up to the courts to determine, but there have been persons who have been vindicated,” Folkes said.

Bron: JamaicaObserver

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