January 24, 2001 By — Gyasi Gonzales

$204m cocaine haul in Central

Extract: Trinidad Express

A TOTAL of 542 kilos of cocaine, with an estimated street value of $204 million, was seized between Monday night and yesterday morning when officers of the Counter Drug Crime Task Force (CDCTF) and Organised Crime and Narcotics Unit (OCNU) raided a warehouse at Carapichaima, Central Trinidad.

Nineteen people were arrested for possession of the cocaine, which was found in sealed plastic bags marked “Frozen Cassava”.

Police said the cocaine—the largest-ever seizure in Trinidad and Tobago—was destined for export to Miami, USA.

The men and women held ranged between the ages of 15 and 41 and will appear before a Port of Spain magistrate today.

Police said when they raided the warehouse, located at Orange Field Road, Carapichaima, they found some of the detainees packing the cocaine into bags of cassava.

The cocaine was first packed into clear plastic bags, then sealed. The bags were then placed in larger bags with a thin layer of ground cassava around it and finally sealed with a machine that was also found at the warehouse.

The packages—1,194 of them—were finally packed into a 40-foot container which was found on the scene.

Officers involved in the exercise were ASP Raymond Craig, head of CDCTF, and Insps Simon Alexis and Roland Morris.

The officers also seized 33 rounds of ammunition.

The OCNU also reported yesterday that on December 27, a total of 261 kilos of cocaine was seized in Miami.

It was described as a joint-operation between the OCNU and “the Americans”.

Three Trinidad and Tobago nationals were arrested and charged.

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