National Security Minister Stuart Young is promising to make the North Coast safer by introducing the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) to the area to stem the illegal trade of drugs and guns.

Young made the announcement yesterday at the IATF headquarters in Aranguez as officers of the unit were recognised for their hard work in 2020.

In his address to the officers, Young apologised for Parliament’s failure to pass the Bail Bill, saying the Parliament had let down the officers who were risking their lives to dismantle the gangs terrorising the country.

Speaking after the function, Young said he could not reveal too much of the plan just yet.

“It’s a little too early to tell you much more, apart from the conversation the Commissioner (Gary Griffith), the Chief of Defence Staff (Air Commodore Darryl Daniel) and myself have had, we recognise that we want to put some more resources up on the North Coast so one of the ideas that we are exploring right now is to use a concept similar to the IATF, you will hear more about it as it rolls out,” Young said.

Asked for a timeline for the introduction of the unit, Young said, “Very soon.”

Young said consideration for the unit’s introduction to the area was because of the illegal entry of contraband along the North Coast.

“We all know, there can be activity, there has been activity in the past up on the North Coast with respect to illegal entrance of contraband, including narcotics, maybe even arms and ammunition,” he said.

He said the measure would be a part of the effort to harden this country’s borders.

“You also do it onshore so what we are looking at is just getting more resources up there, there is nothing specific but when you harden you up an area, it makes an area safer.”

Asked if there were any other specific areas that would require such attention, Young said he could not say yet.

In July 2019 the country awoke to the news that Vaughn ‘Sandman’ Mieres, his wife Alita ‘Letty’ Dehere and two of their bodyguards, Nigel ‘Blood’ Octim and Kadir Joseph had been shot dead at Mieres’ Las Cuevas home.

Reports later said eight men attacked Mieres’ in the wee hours of the morning, surrounding it as Mieres and his wife slept.

Octim was posted to guard the front gate, while Joseph kept watch over the back entrance to the property.

Mieres’ two children, aged four and 16 were not harmed in the attack.

After the murders, the men were said to have abandoned their cars near the Las Cuevas Health Centre and escaped in waiting boats along the shoreline.

A week later, a former associate of Mieres’, Durelle ‘Shorto’ Raymond appeared in court charged for the four murders.

Police said Raymond went to the Port- of- Spain General Hospital the day of the murders seeking treatment for a gunshot wound he was believed to have sustained during the attack.

Mieres was reportedly a gang leader, drug dealer and gun smuggler with ties to Venezuela and Colombia and was said to have run the North Coast drug empire for over 20 years.

He also owned about 30 fishing boats, a fish-processing business and was involved in construction and farming.

He had been arrested several times over the years, including in 2011 during the state of emergency when he was charged with being a gang leader. He was later released for a lack of evidence.

He was arrested again in 2018 and charged with possession of arms and ammunition.

He was on $250,000 bail at the time of his death.

Two months after he was killed, Mieres’ cousin, Dillon ‘Mission’ Mieres was murdered. He and his wife were driving along the Maracas Royal Road when gunmen crashed into his car, before opening fire and killing Dillon. His wife, Mary Reyes managed to survive the attack.