Marijuana trees destroyed by police, during an anti-crime exercise in Rio Claro, on Monday. (Image: TTPS)

Officers of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS) have destroyed 800 marijuana trees, valued at some $800,000, during an anti-crime exercise in Rio Claro, on Monday 25th May 2020.

The anti-crime exercise was conducted in the Rio Claro district, between the hours of 10:30 am and 3:30 pm. It was coordinated by Senior Superintendent (Ag) Aguilal and Ag Inspectors Samaroo and Joseph. It was supervised by Sgt Mahabir and Ag Sgt Maharaj; and included Ag Corporals Denoon and Neaves.

According to official police reports, police officers proceeded to a camp located 50 feet off the Roadway at Old Rio Claro Mayaro Road in Union Village, Rio Claro, where two men—63-year-old Kishore Sampath, and 53-year-old Michael Ali—were seen cultivating a marijuana field.

The field was approximately two lots in size and was cultivated with 800 trees. Police reportedly saw the men watering the growing plants. Michael Ali reportedly was in possession of a homemade shotgun and six rounds of 12-gauge cartridges.

Both men were arrested and jointly charged for cultivating marijuana. Michael Ali was charged with possession of firearm and ammunition.

The marijuana trees were valued at $800,000.00. The trees were uprooted and destroyed.

On the same day, officers went to the home of Danny Persad, of Mahabalsing Trace in Navet Village, Rio Claro. Reports are that when they arrived, Persad was at the back of his house holding a Maverick Mossberg pump action shotgun.

Police also report that Raffi Baksh, who lives at the same address, was seen with a screwdriver screwing on a gun butt.

Police searched the premises further and found one 12-gauge cartridge in the shotgun.

Both men were arrested and jointly charged for the offences of possession of a firearm and ammunition.