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Trinidad's Chaguaramas named in $830m drug bust off Spain

British and Spanish police are investigating why 1.5 tonnes of cocaine, worth close to $1 billion, left Chaguaramas earlier this month aboard a yacht headed for Spain. The yacht was traced across the Atlantic Ocean by satellite after it left Trinidad until Spanish Police intercepted it on Monday. The drug haul showed similar signs to one of the biggest drug cases in Ireland two years ago, which also had strong links to T&T. The La Flibuste yacht, a UK-flagged vessel, was moored at Chaguaramas earlier this month before leaving with the cargo of 1.5 tonnes of cocaine hidden in a false roof of two of the cabins.

The cocaine is worth a staggering 83 million pounds sterling, which at today’s exchange rate amounts to TT$830 million. As it left Chaguaramas it was traced by satellite and tailed by British intelligence Officers. On Monday, officers of the Special Operations Unit, of the Spanish National Police, raided the vessel some 120 miles of Cadiz, Portugal, and transported it to Spain. Three men, a Spaniard and two Frenchmen, are being questioned about from whom in T&T they collected the drugs and how they managed to make it out of the country undetected. Spanish police are saying further arrests may follow soon.

The operation, which was carried out with the co-operation of British police, began early this month when police became aware of the yacht moored in Port-of-Spain, according to a statement issued by the Spanish police. Spanish police say they were informed the yacht had cruised off Trinidad just under a month ago and was heading for a Spanish marina. It is not clear whether local law enforcement officers played any part in the tip-off. Intelligence agencies in Spain and England are probing deeper because of the similarity between this bust and one in 2008, in which the exact amount of cocaine was also found on a yacht that originated from Trinidad. That yacht, Dances with Waves, also was tracked from Trinidad across the Atlantic by a US spy satellite.

It developed engine trouble off the coast of Ireland before being intercepted. Three men who were arrested and tried in that matter were said to have travelled to T&T, via Spain and Venezuela, and bought the vessel In T&T. In 2002 a British court was told several politicians from Trinidad were said to have had a close alliance with a British millionaire-drug-pusher, who was at the time in hiding from British authorities. Those reports were carried in the local media, identifying a number of places in Chaguaramas, said to be responsible for the outfitting and loading of cocaine on vessels for overseas delivery. The court had heard cocaine was moving from Latin America, through Trinidad, to small seaports in southern England. A yacht, known as the Sea Mist, was interdicted in Ireland and 599 kilos of cocaine were discovered by Irish customs.

The captain of that vessel, John Ewart, who was subsequently sentenced to 17 years imprisonment for illicit drug-trafficking, reportedly told the international press the Sea Mist was outfitted and loaded in Chaguaramas. The court also heard that in conjunction with the Sea Mist a series of yachts left their Chaguaramas anchorages laden with cocaine and even heroin for England and ports in Europe. Two other vessels also were given similar treatment at Chaguaramas. They are the yacht The Aquarius, with 226.6 kilos of cocaine for delivery to Antigua in 1994, and The Obsession, with over 200 kilos of cocaine destined for Britain in 1996. Local intelligence authorities are said to be closely working with their international counterparts on Monday’s bust.

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Comment by Rebbel Uneek on September 28, 2010 at 12:04am
no big runnings like that can't happen without people in power involved. maybe someone wasn't satisfied with their cut so they squealed and let the rat out the bag.
Comment by gervais on September 27, 2010 at 12:59pm
somebody go pay......the hard way.....
Comment by Natalie on September 27, 2010 at 12:41pm
DRUGS, it's part of the SYSTEM obviously for a large sum of quantity leaving the country undetected there are high officials involved and need to be JAILED for life yes life. Because of such slackness innocent people are suffering this is what equals to high profile crime. The high officials no longer interesting in doing and getting their jobs done there’re just waiting on the pick and droop off money, whereas they need to be stopping an event like this from happening. The Spain/British officials need to investigate from top to bottom. With all said and done they all use it and I will continue to happen at lease the investigation will slow ‘em’ down.
Comment by D on September 27, 2010 at 11:31am
think it was the caribs
Comment by King George on September 27, 2010 at 9:57am
Drugs is every people it doesn't matter where it is so y'all I just would love to know what tribe Jamaicans derived from because based on Mr Fix comment the level of IGNORANCE amongst jamaicans is staggering. Y'all gave yourselves a bad name with your over aggressive and hostilie nature don't forget that
Comment by caribbeanrose on September 27, 2010 at 9:07am
Kamla said she would fix the crime problem. I guess this is the fault of the PNM too. They didn't get change, all they got was exchange
Comment by Audrey Morgan on September 27, 2010 at 4:48am
Mr. Fix, I wholeheartedly agree with you.
Comment by Maxine Morgan on September 27, 2010 at 12:32am
This isn't the 1st & sure isn't the last. Its not a JA thing nor a T&T thing this is a world wide thing. Its not the little men in these things u would be so surprise to see who's truly behind these drug trafficking. PM, Presidents, Kings they're the true culprits but its the small fries they terrorize, because they can't touch the real big man.
Comment by bigtyme175 on September 26, 2010 at 10:47pm
All of you that said thank god it's not Jamaica need to be ashamed of yourselves, because weather it JA or TNT the rest of the world is looking at ALL of the caribbean island's in a bad light so ALL of the caribbean island's need to work extra hard together so that none of our island's get's casted in a negative light again.
Comment by Byron Supreme on September 26, 2010 at 7:13pm
keep up the good work daaauvivid, let us try and get some positive stories out of jamaica now

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