Prominent law enforcement officials surmise that the recent declaration of enhanced cooperation between the nation’s security forces and the CIA and FBI might be related to the inflow of automatic weapons from both North and South America into Trinidad and Tobago.
The Prime Minister disclosed to the media yesterday at a Whitehall briefing that he had conversations with senior CIA and FBI personnel while on a visit to Washington, DC, earlier this week.
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In response to questions about what precipitated the meeting with US authorities and caused him to feel uneasy, Rowley said that T&T was being “loved” by some international personalities involved in organized crime.
PM Rowley stated, “We are an open country in international trade and international contact. And even outside of our official entry points, what we have been discovering is that certain criminals are ‘liking’ us and these are not small-timers. I say no more on that.”
Shortly after Rowley revealed her information, a top law enforcement official mentioned the discovery of several automatic weapons in Santa Cruz in October of last year. They mentioned that most of the weapons were identified as coming from the US, while the two 50-caliber machine guns were from Colombia.
The insider said that offenders who were already incarcerated were bringing in the firearms.
The police claimed that gun thieves were becoming more inventive in their methods of moving weapons, pointing to one instance of how gun parts were shipped in crates intended for television parts.
“No one would suspect when metallic parts are transported in a box containing these parts. Even if they search the items, they may not think much of it when they see certain components in it.”
According to a different source, the cooperation with the US may also be a reaction to the growing number of foreigners visiting the Caribbean in an attempt to increase their influence, on top of these other worries.
An officer verified that individuals believed to be “major players” in the global drug trafficking trade had previously visited T&T.
According to the source, in 2022, a man who is thought to be a member of a cartel in Colombia took a plane to Trinidad and spent two weeks staying with a resident of the T&T in Central Trinidad.
“The individual was heavily monitored and surveilled for the duration of his visit. However, because of how these things work we were unable to arrest or do anything besides pay close attention, as the person was being monitored by another external agency.”
However, the insider contended that local law enforcement’s ability to respond effectively might be severely hampered by foreign security agencies’ unwillingness to provide specific information to the TTPS.
The official mentioned that passports of those under surveillance by foreign law enforcement agencies were “tagged,” but more details were restricted to senior officers.
According to the source, there was an event in which a person who was considered a “major player” in organized crime by international authorities came to Trinidad and Tobago, but local officials were not informed of any of the details.
“I recall an ACP was called into a meeting with the DEA liaison and not much information was revealed after that.”
The officer stated that although there was hope that enhanced cooperation between local law enforcement and the FBI and CIA would benefit in combating crime, greater cooperation and confidence are required.
“It cannot be a situation where we (the police) only know about the when and not the location but the individuals involved and no further context. We are always called upon to provide manpower support but no further information is provided.”