The guns and ammunition seized by members of the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in Puerto Rico which were bound for Trinidad and Tobago last week.

Rhondor Dowlat-Rostant

A cache of semi-automatic weapons and pistol magazines destined for T&T was discovered stashed away in a toolbox, by officials of the United States Customs and Border Protection (USCBP) last Wednesday in Puerto Rico.

According to a release posted on the USCBP website on Monday, the toolbox was sent via air courier from Tennessee to Port of Spain, Trinidad. The toolbox contained six semi-automatic pistols and nine pistol magazines.

Carlos Nieves, Port Director in Mayaguez-Aguadilla, in the release, noted that “The exportation of firearms requires a license in compliance with US Export Control regulations”.

“CBP officers enforce US import and export regulations to ensure that products entering the supply chain respect international trade agreements.”

The release added that on July 1, CBP officers inspected outbound parcels at the Rafael Hernandez International Airport and was alerted by a USCBP K-9 to a box manifested as “Gift Shipment” with $100 customs value declared.

“A more intrusive inspection revealed that the toolbox had six semiautomatic pistols and nine pistol magazines,” it stated.

“Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) took custody of the weapons for further investigation,” it added.

Police sources told Guardian Media that usually when findings such as this occur the Interpol is called in for tracing of addresses both of the recipient and sender.

However, when asked about the latest discovery and if he was contacted on it, Commissioner of Police, Gary Griffith, did not confirm or deny.

Recently, during a media conference Griffith, however, disclosed that according to intelligence received illegal arms and ammunition have been penetrating T&T’s borders through legal ports of entries. He added that because of such intelligence his officers are needed to carry out thorough inspections of containers and barrels before leaving the respective ports.

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The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) administers U.S. laws, regulations and policies governing the export and re-export of commodities, software, and technology (collectively “items”) falling under the jurisdiction of the Export Administration Regulations (EAR).

USCBP works with the BIS to implement and enforce the EAR, which regulates the export, re-export, and transfer (in-country) of items with commercial uses that can also be used in conventional arms, weapons of mass destruction, terrorist activities, or human rights abuses, and less sensitive military items.

With more than 60,000 employees, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, USCBP, is one of the world’s largest law enforcement organisations and is charged with keeping terrorists and their weapons out of the U.S. while facilitating lawful international travel and trade.

As the United States’ first unified border entity, USCBP takes a comprehensive approach to border management and control, combining customs, immigration, border security, and agricultural protection into one coordinated and supportive activity.