The 16-gauge shotgun seized during the police operation on Tuesday 27 October 2020, in which 21 Venezuelan illegal immigrants were arrested. (Image: TTPS)

Police have detained 21 Venezuelan nationals in Chatham, South Trinidad, who were attempting to enter the country illegally via a beach in the Chatham area, on Tuesday 27 October 2020.

Official reports from the Police Service indicate that the group of immigrants—comprising 13 males, four females, and four children—were arrested by officers of the Cedros Police Station, the South Western Division Task Force (SWDTF) and the Emergency Response Patrol (ERP).

According to a TTPS release, two officers proceeded to the Chatham coastline around 6:45 am yesterday, after receiving a report from the South Western Operations Centre there was an unidentified vessel in the area.

The officers reportedly observed a large group of persons walking along a track from the coastline, leading to an abandoned two-storey house. The officers pursued the group and took up strategic positions while awaiting the arrival of SWDTF and the ERP.

After the Venezuelans entered the building, the officers identified themselves and detained the group.

The TTPS says while attempting to manage the situation and preserve order, the officers observed one man holding a white crocus bag, attempting to return to the shore. One officer intercepted the man and relieved him of the bag which contained a 16-gauge shotgun.

The firearm was seized and the group was taken to be tested for the COVID-19 virus and to be quarantined.

Investigations are continuing into the matter.