Marijuana seized in Trinidad

Media in Trinidad and Tobago say they have obtained a secret intelligence report detailing how Jamaicans have set up extensive drug trafficking networks on the islands. However, with the report following on the heels of officials blaming Jamaican immigrants for the country's security problems, the timing of the leak looks suspect.

Newspaper the Trinidad Express and TV station TV6 News reported that they had obtained an intelligence report -- submitted to the government's National Security Council in mid-October -- that describes the involvement of Jamaican criminals in the island's drug trade.

According to the report, the traffickers import Jamaican marijuana into Trinidad and Tobago, then exchange it for cocaine. The cocaine is then smuggled to North America or Europe via direct routes or by way of Jamaica.

The intelligence report also reportedly described how Jamaican criminals have set up their own cells in Trinidad and Tobago because they do not trust local traffickers, who often steal drugs or underpay suppliers. However, it is unclear whether the Jamaicans still source cocaine from local dealers or if they work directly with South American suppliers.

The report also reportedly documented several techniques used by Jamaican traffickers, including paying "mules" to carry the drugs, allegedly bribing port authorities to wave through shipments and even brining in scuba divers to retrieve loads from the sea.

According to the Trinidad Express, the report also included a detailed account of how Jamaicans "intentionally try to mislead" Trinidad and Tobago immigration authorities.  

InSight Crime Analysis

The leak of this intelligence report to Trinidad and Tobago media comes shortly after the island's National Security Minister made controversial comments blaming the country's crime and gang problems on Jamaican immigrants -- timing that may well be more than coincidence.

The document's apparent emphasis on describing immigration issues with little relevance to organized crime -- such as Jamaicans with no reported criminal history overstaying visas, or how illegal Jamaican immigrants work in strip clubs or security -- certainly supports the notion the release of the report is connected to the minister's comments and the ongoing row between the countries over immigration.

However, while there is a danger that the information in the leaked intelligence report will be used to scapegoat immigrants, it does not mean that it's not true. Jamaica is a major marijuana producer and cocaine transit point, and is home to sophisticated and violent criminal structures that have at times operated in foreign countries, such as the United Kingdom and the United States. Given this level of experience, it is certainly possible such groups would look to manage drug trafficking networks on nearby islands.

Investigations

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
Prev Next

Colombia's Mirror: War and Drug Trafficking in the Prison System

Colombia's Mirror: War and Drug Trafficking in the Prison System

Colombia's prisons are a reflection of the multiple conflicts that have plagued the country for the last half-century. Paramilitaries, guerrillas and drug trafficking groups have vied for control of the jails where they can continue to manage their operations on the outside. Instead of corralling these forces...

Where Chaos Reigns: Inside the San Pedro Sula Prison

Where Chaos Reigns: Inside the San Pedro Sula Prison

In San Pedro Sula's jailhouse, chaos reigns. The inmates, trapped in their collective misery, battle for control over every inch of their tight quarters. Farm animals and guard dogs roam free and feed off scraps, which can include a human heart. Every day is visitors' day, and...

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Power

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Power

  The Bajo Cauca Franchise BACRIM-Land Armed Power Dynamics The BACRIM in places like the region of Bajo Cauca are a typical manifestation of Colombia's underworld today: a semi-autonomous local cell that is part of a powerful national network. The BACRIM's roots lie in the demobilized paramilitary umbrella group the United Self-Defense...

How the MS13 Tried (and Failed) to Create a Single Gang in the US

How the MS13 Tried (and Failed) to Create a Single Gang in the US

In July 2011, members of the Mara Salvatrucha (MS13) attended a meeting organized in California by a criminal known as "Bad Boy." Among the invitees was José Juan Rodríguez Juárez, known as "Dreamer," who had gone to the meeting hoping to better understand what was beginning to...

Homicides in Guatemala: Analyzing the Data

Homicides in Guatemala: Analyzing the Data

In the last decade, homicides in Guatemala have obeyed a fairly steady pattern. Guatemala City and some of its surrounding municipalities have the greatest sheer number of homicides. Other states, particularly along the eastern border have the highest homicide rates. Among these are the departments of Escuintla...

Homicides in Guatemala: Collecting the Data

Homicides in Guatemala: Collecting the Data

When someone is murdered in Guatemala, police, forensic doctors and government prosecutors start making their way to the crime scene and a creaky, antiquated 20th century bureaucratic machine kicks into gear. Calls are made. Forms are filled out by hand, or typed into computers, or both. Some...

Homicides in Guatemala: Introduction, Methodology, and Major Findings

Homicides in Guatemala: Introduction, Methodology, and Major Findings

When violence surged in early 2015 in Guatemala, then-President Otto Pérez Molina knew how to handle the situation: Blame the street gangs. 

Nariño, Colombia: Ground Zero of the Cocaine Trade

Nariño, Colombia: Ground Zero of the Cocaine Trade

The department of Nariño in southwest Colombia is the main coca-producing area in the country and in the world. It is a place scarred by poverty and years of armed conflict between guerrillas, the state and paramilitary groups. Perhaps nowhere else in the country are the challenges...

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Murder

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Murder

  Life of a Sicario Anatomy of a Hit   The BACRIM's control over territories such as the north Colombian region of Bajo Cauca comes at the point of a gun, and death is a constant price of their power. In rural sectors, uniformed BACRIM armed with assault rifles still patrol in...

El Salvador Prisons and the Battle for the MS13’s Soul

El Salvador Prisons and the Battle for the MS13’s Soul

El Salvador's prison system is the headquarters of the country's largest gangs. It is also where one of these gangs, the MS13, is fighting amongst itself for control of the organization.