By Nalinee Seelal (Newsday)
Wed, Sept, 7, 2011
Government stopped a bloody cocaine war between Colombian and Mexican drug leaders in this country which threatened numerous lives by calling the sudden state of emergency on August 21.
According to well-placed intelligence sources, Colombian and Mexican drug dealers who have been fighting for drug turf locally were set to go on a bloodbath, following the seizure of cocaine worth $22 million at Piarco International Airport on August 16, five days before the declaration of the state of emergency.
Officers of the Organised Crime, Narcotics and Firearms Bureau (OCNFB) carried out a sting operation and detained a 19-year-old Arima man and seized two suitcases containing cocaine, packaged neatly in plastic bags. The cocaine weighed 53.926 kilogrammes and was found concealed in a blue blanket.
The suspect worked as a Servis Air employee and was charged for drug trafficking on August 19. He was denied bail. Up to yesterday he was being questioned by both local and United States (US) authorities about the origin of the drugs. The man has since indicated that he is fearful for his life and the safety of his family.
The cocaine reportedly belongs to a Colombian drug dealer whose associates are reported to be in this country with the intention of executing Mexican drug lords based here and an Aranjuez drug dealer who works for the Mexicans. The Aranjuez drug dealer reportedly tipped off the police about the suitcases of cocaine which were to be shipped to the US. Both the Colombians and Mexicans reportedly entered the country by boat with sophisticated weapons.
The recipient of the cocaine has reportedly gone into hiding but is now being sought by US authorities who are working closely with OCNFB officers.
Yesterday a source at the OCNFB told Newsday that the police are making inroads into this investigation and more will be revealed shortly.
However, intelligence sources said that when they were informed that both Colombian and Mexican drug lords were in the country, US authorities advised that the borders be placed under lockdown and that the state of emergency be put in place.
Newsday understands that the Colombians came to this country to deal specifically with the Mexicans and the local drug lord for tipping off the police on the whereabouts of their drugs and if this had occurred many many lives would have been lost.
Yesterday sources revealed that the Colombians and Mexicans are reportedly hiding out in this country and the state of emergency is geared at finding those persons to prevent any bloodshed.
According to sources, Trinidad and Tobago (TT) is a major transhipment point for drugs which are exported to North American countries.
The Colombians reportedly controlled the local drug turf for several years but the Mexicans have infiltrated this country which has resulted in drug lords from those two countries warring with each other.
Last Thursday, officers of the OCNFB and the Coast Guard raided a boat in La Brea at at about 1.40 am and seized cocaine in suitcases valued at $3.2 million.
Two Trinidadians, a Colombian and Venezuelan were arrested in that exercise, however up to yesterday no details were given on the status of the four held.
However local intelligence agencies believe that the cocaine found on the boat also belonged to the Colombian drug lord as information about the shipment was supplied to the police and Coast Guard by the Aranjuez dealer, who got the tipoff from the Mexicans.
This has further angered the Colombians who sources revealed are intent on executing the Mexicans and local drug lords responsible for their drugs being seized.
On Sunday, the Prime Minister announced that the state of emergency will be extended for another three months and Newsday understands that this was done to prevent any bloodbath from taking place in the country.
Yesterday Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley said he was informed while in Parliament on Saturday by Government persons that the real reason for the state of emergency was to prevent a war between a Colombian gang and a Trinidadian gang over the $22 million drug bust at Piarco. Attempts by Newsday to reach Rowley on the matter proved futile.
However, at yesterday’s media briefing on security matters, Minister of National Security Brigadier John Sandy when questioned if there is any truth to Rowley’s claims said, “Well I did not hear the Opposition Leader, I don’t know who told him that.”
Asked further if he knew anything about this matter involving a Colombian drug lord and a local drug lord Sandy said, “I’d rather not comment on that at this time.”
Recently, the US has been working closely with Colombian authorities to deal specifically with Mexican drug dealers who have infiltrated Colombia to set up a lucrative drug trade.
A report from Reuters stated, “A criminal gang capable of smuggling ten tonnes of cocaine a month for Mexico’s bloody Sinaloa cartel has been dismantled following the arrest of 36 suspects, Colombian authorities said on Friday last.”
The arrests have been hailed as a success of cooperation between Colombia and the US, which has contributed billions of dollars in aid to help the Andean country fight drug smugglers with links to Marxist guerrillas.
“This operation between the United States and Colombia has a direct impact that should relieve violence and drug trafficking in Central America and Mexico,” the report stated.
Those organisations have tried to fill the void left in Colombia by the fall in recent years of the Norte Valle Cartel and the dissolution of the Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia, a paramilitary group, the US Department of Justice said in a statement.
They are becoming a leading supplier of cocaine to Mexican cartels, in particular the violent Sinaloa group, which experts say moves up to two-thirds of drugs into the US.
The Andean country has attracted billions of dollars in foreign direct investment over the last decade, boosting oil and coal output after US military aid helped it deal crippling blows to leftist guerrillas and cocaine cartels.