MARK BASSANT & CHESTER SAMBRANO
Four police officers have been suspended and another 11 transferred, as investigations continue into the return of $22 million in cash, following the DSS Raid in La Horquetta, on September 22.
The instruction came from Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith.
In a Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS) release, Griffith also directed that 11 police officers be transferred from the Northern Division.
Guardian Media understands that two of the four senior officers suspended are the rank of an Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) and an Inspector.
The DSS case shot to prominence on September 22nd when police officers of the Special Operations Response Team (SORT) raided a La Horquetta apartment and seized some $22m in cash that was later taken to the La Horquetta Police Station.
Within hours of the money being taken to the police station, it is alleged that certain senior police officers ordered the release of the money back to DSS CEO Keron Clarke, described as the founder of the DSS – commonly referred to as the “Drugs Sou Sou”.
The Sunday Guardian has written a series of exclusive articles about alleged police involvement in not only releasing the money from the police station but also police officers who worked for DSS offering protection to ensure that the business ran smoothly without any problems. Officers from the Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force have also been accused of aiding and abetting this operation and the TTDF said recently that they were assisting police in their investigation into the alleged involvement of the TTDF.
CCTV footage had also captured a TTDF member allegedly stuffing money into his tactical gear during the operation and that is also the subject of an investigation by the Professional Standards Bureau (PSB).
The Financial Investigations Branch (FIB) is also carrying out a separate investigation to ascertain the source of funds of the DSS.
In the press release, Commissioner Griffith said based on preliminary investigations, it had become necessary to suspend the four policemen, two of them being senior officers. He directed that four others be transferred out of the Northern Division and the other seven (all Special Reserve Police Officers), be transferred to Northern Division Area West.
Commissioner Griffith said the Professional Standards Bureau (PSB) was mandated to carry out the investigations into the return of the money.
As a result, acting on the advice of the investigators, the CoP has directed that certain persons be removed from the investigations to allow the entire probe to be conducted in the most transparent manner.
The investigations are being spearheaded by a team under the supervision of Acting Deputy Commissioner of Police (Intelligence and Investigations), Mc Donald Jacob.