TTPS Northern Division Senior Superintendent Brian Ramphall chats with Inspector Ishmael Pitt during their weekly press briefing at the Police Administration Building, corner of Edward and Sackville Streets yesterday.

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The Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS) is seeking to weaken warring gangs in Tunapuna with what it is calling a special focus on drug blocks in the area.

Speaking at Thursday’s TTPS media briefing, Inspector Ishmael Pitt said ongoing gang warfare in Tunapuna is responsible for a recent upsurge in murders.

“We have identified them as the Rasta City gang and one of the gangs is not necessarily a known gang, we label them in relation to the geographic space so we call them the Upper Tunapuna gang but that gang is fuelled by members of other gangs.”

Inspector Pitt said the gangs are fighting over turf and historical differences between the groups.

He said their numbers could be anywhere between 30 to 40 people per gang. And the weapons at their disposal are worrying the TTPS.

“We have been seeing a proliferation of heavy arms in relation to 5.6 so the caliber of weapons is quite worrying and is a developing trend.”

It’s why Inspector Pitt said it is imperative that they go after the drugs that fund their ability to kill.

“For that reason we would have increased our drug block focus, so at present there is a mandate on how we are to approach the drug blocks because we believe once we stop the flow of cash we would be able to stifle the gangs and the strength they are experiencing at this time.”

Even with the decriminalization of marijuana, Pitt said weed and cocaine remain the major drugs that are peddled in the community.

He said patrols have also been increased in the area.

Inspector Pitt added that the hilly terrain in Tunapuna due to its proximity to the Northern Range and criminals have utilized that feature to elude police and conduct their killings.

But while the TTPS does its work, Pitt pleaded with community based organizations to help keep the younger generation away from the gang culture.

“We don’t just want to treat the symptoms, but the cause. The youth groups, the community outreach programme we are depending on these bodies for the softer side of policing. How could we impact the minds of the young people to dissuade them from being gangsters in the first place?”