The Drug Squad of the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF) continues to make life difficult for drug dealers and traffickers.
In two separate drug busts over a one-week period, close to 600 pounds of marijuana with a total street value of $730,000.00 have been seized by law enforcement officials.
In the process, eight persons were arrested and two speedboats were also seized by the lawmen.
Although being satisfied with the continued success of the men under his command, Head of the Drug Squad, Superintendent Rodriques James shared some concern over the frequency in which attempts are being made by Vincentian Nationals to smuggle illegal drugs into the island.
In an exclusive interview with THE NEW TODAY Newspaper, Supt. James believes that there is an upsurge in the number of marijuana being brought to Grenada from the neighbouring island.
He said at present they are just about eighty pounds short of the total amount of marijuana seized last year and the year can still be considered to be very young.
The Drug Squad Head said the lawmen have recognised that the northern parts of the island are being used increasingly as major transshipment points for illegal drugs coming from St. Vincent.
Supt. James spoke specifically about the problem of Vincentians coming into Grenada on speedboats solely for the purpose of drug trafficking.
He said based on their assessments it is believed that there has definitely been an increase in the number of illegal Vincentian immigrants coming into Grenada.
The Drug Squad Head indicated that the success made in apprehending the suspected drug dealers is as a result of the intensified efforts in the fight against illegal drugs by local law enforcement officers.
He said that despite the little resources at their disposal, his department is trying its best in conjunction with the Special Services Unit (SSU) and the Grenada Coast Guard in the fight against illegal drugs coming through the borders of Grenada.
“Our men are not relenting in their efforts to deal with the problem,” he said while sending out a strong warning to the smugglers.
In the first drug bust on April 15, three St. George’s residents, Richard Steele, 37 years old of Mt. Parnassus, Kimani Mc Queen, 26 years of Cherry Hill, and Alister Scott, 42 years old of Snug Corner, along with Kenneth Smith, 31 years old of Gouyave, St. John’s were caught during an operation by police at L’Esterre Beach, Carriacou, during which 267 pounds of marijuana were seized.
A speedboat belonging to Steele was also seized during the raid.
Bail in the sum of $150,000.00 was granted to Steele, while $75,000.00 bail each were granted to Scott and Mc Queen, and $50,000 bail to Smith.
All four suspects were charged with trafficking of a controlled drug, and will make another court appearance on June 18.
In another raid on April 24, Vincentian National Brian Howell, was caught by police as he attempted to evade the lawmen on Frigate Island, Carriacou.
The 47-yearold Howell of Chateaubelair, St. Vincent allegedly attempted to bring into Grenada 260 pounds of marijuana.
A high level source told THE NEW TODAY Newspaper the marijuana was contained in five bags. Two men were seen running from the area as the lawmen moved in.
The officers conducted a search of the area and were able to nab Howell.
A blue and white speedboat that was placed between some mangroves was seized.
Meanwhile, two Vincentian Nationals have been jailed for one year each after failing to pay the court a fine of $20,000.00 imposed on them for drug trafficking.
Denver Keane 22 years and Ivan Matthew 20 years, both of Campden Park, St. Vincent, who pleaded guilty to charges of possession of a controlled drug at the Sauteurs Magistrate Court on April 24, were ordered to pay the monies forthwith and in default serve one year in prison.
The Vincentians were also ordered deported at the expiration of their sentences.
Keane and Matthew were among four persons caught in a police drug bust at Madeys, St. Patrick on April 13, during which 48 pounds of marijuana with a street value of close to $110,000 were seized.
Grenadian national, Chad Paul of Happy Hill, St. George’s who also pleaded guilty on the charge was fined $20,000 to be paid in eight months and in default serve one year in prison.
Charges brought against another local man were dropped in the same case.