National Security Minister Fitzgerald Hinds has described the two recent discoveries of large caches of sophisticated weapons and ammunition as part of “a more sinister, deeper and darker” plot to harm the people of this country.
Expressing confidence in Trinidad and Tobago’s law enforcement agencies to handle whatever challenges they are faced with to ensure citizens are safe and protected, the newly appointed minister said the discoveries meant the systems are working.
Responding to questions last evening as he stood aboard the Galleons Passage at the Port-of-Spain Port, he heaped praises on the contingent of law enforcement officials who collaborated in the finds which came days apart at two separate locations.
Expressing delight whenever such illegal discoveries are detected and in such quantities, Hinds said, “I am more than pleased because I understand that that simple fact makes T&T cleaner and safer.”
He lamented that the proliferation of illegal weapons had led the people of T&T, “to shed so much tears and endure so much pain as a result of gun violence.”
Pressed to provide an update on the two finds, Hinds said, “The police have already made it clear that from the looks of that, it didn’t look like it was anybody wanting to carry out robberies because that has happened many times before.”
“It doesn’t appear as though that was anything in terms of settling gang affairs because those things have happened before…because the quantity and nature of the things that were found on those two occasions demonstrate that there might be, as the police have explained…more sinister, deeper and darker motives, but I am not a police officer and they assured me they are investigating it because surely the people of T&T would want to know who would want to accumulate that kind of weaponry, but we know that the difference between those people in their illegality and our forces, is the discipline and the training and the moral posture that we stand on to do what is right in the protection of the people of T&T.”
Hinds said while the authorities have no fear, “We look forward to finding out who did it and why so that we can make the country cleaner and safer.”
Major arms discovered by police in April
On April 23 around 8.45 am, customs officers at the Port of Port-of-Spain discovered four guns and a quantity of ammunition in a cargo barrel that had been addressed to a female consignee at La Horquetta, Arima.
A sealed bucket among the barrel’s contents was scanned and irregular objects were observed.
Upon opening the bucket, officials found it contained a black sticky substance.
Using a rod to remove a black plastic bag from the bucket, officers found several packages wrapped in transparent plastic which contained one Taurus 9 mm pistol with two magazines and ten rounds of 9 mm ammunition; 23 rounds of 40 mm ammunition; seven .380 rounds of ammunition; one SCCY pistol; two magazines; three rounds of 9 mm ammunition; one Glock 43 pistol; two magazines; three rounds of 9 mm ammunition; one Ruger LCP pistol; one magazine; and six rounds of .380 rounds of ammunition. The sender was listed as a resident of the United States.
On April 22, Police and Customs made a major discovery of high-powered guns, ammunition, and equipment during a raid at a Bond at Piarco International Airport. An operation was carried out at the Bond, involving officers of the Customs and Excise Division, the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), and the TTPS Crime Scene Unit. During the search of the package, the team discovered a large number of high-powered weapons, pistols, various assortment of ammunition, police sirens, police blue lights, bullet-proof vests, and magazine holders.
On April 19, the Trinidad and Tobago police service said a 28-year old businessman was arrested after officers seized 25 firearm parts.
During an anti-crime exercise, officers executed a search warrant in Tacarigua.
Officers found nine rifle magazines, 11 pistol magazines, an AR-15 butt, an AR-15 barrel, three pistol slides, and a revolver.
The businessman was held
The man, who was on the compound at the time of the search, was arrested and investigations are ongoing.