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T&T a nest of major drug traffickers

Drug Trafficing Trends T&T - [PDF] - [HTML Copy]

$204m in cocaine seized January 24 2001
Venezuelan law enforcement officers seize further 2.5 tonnes of cocaine August 23, 2000

December 1, 2000
Trinicenter Investigation

The DEA informed authorities of the planned docking in Trinidad of the Colombian boat loaded with cocaine.

Extract: U.S. Information Agency

The Trinidad connection in the scheduled journey of the Ricky II, the Colombian cargo vessel found carrying more than four tons of cocaine, must deeply concern local authorities. Our information is that the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) had alerted the TT police that six Trinidadians had been assigned by the Colombian drug cartel to make sure that the vessel had a smooth passage while it docked in Trinidad. This information would indicate that our country is still deeply involved in the network by which drug are transported from the producers in South America to the countries of North America and Europe. According to reports coming out of the Venezuelan port of Puerto Cabello where the Ricky II was held, the names of the Trinidadians were obtained in investigations done among the crew of the ship.

"The cargo of cocaine, it would seem, was destined for the United Kingdom and Europe, in which case the vessel would have to be 'protected' from any form of interference while it unloaded its legitimate cargo in Trinidad. Now the DEA is asking the Trinidad authorities for information on the six Trinis who apparently had been given this special assignment. We expect, of course, the fullest possible cooperation of our police with officers of the DEA and the Venezuelan authorities. The...government has pledged this kind of international collaboration in the fight against drug trafficking and this appears to be an opportunity to unearth and possibly apprehend a group of people not only connected with the largest drug bust in Venezuela's history, but also employed directly, it seems, by Colombian drug producers.... Another interesting element of the story is the news that the United States and Venezuela had signed an accord somewhat similar to the controversial 'shiprider' agreement between the United States and TT. Under this treaty, U.S. Coast Guard vessels will be able to board Venezuelan vessels in international waters to search for illegal narcotics."
U.S. Information Agency

Why was Brian in China following Venezuela's largest-ever drugs bust?

Who were the financiers of that drug shipment?

Who were the Trinidad directors of the company that owned the vessel?

To which Trinidad newspaper was the newsprint on the vessel consigned?

Why did a daily newspaper not send reporters to Venezuela to cover the story?

Which two drug cartels joined forces to manage this deal?

Search for answers here / The World Geopolitics of Drugs 1998/1999 Annual Report


Five tonnes of cocaine seized from ship at Puerto Cabello

Caracas: Monday, July 21, 1997

The captain and crew of the Panamanian-registered cargo vessel "Ricky II" are being held by the Venezuelan PTJ (detectives branch) anti-drugs division in Puerto Cabello after five (5) tonnes of pure-grade Colombian cocaine were discovered hidden in gigantic rolls of newsprint.

The ship has now been unloaded under the legal supervision of 9th Penal Judge Aura Reyes and public official Dra. Delia Pacheco.

The "Ricky II" had arrived at Puerto Cabello Friday from Barranquilla in Colombia en route to Trinidad and the United States. Sources say the PTJ swooped on a tip-off from the United States Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).

-- report by --


Coke goes up in smoke today!

-- Tuesday, August 12, 1997 --

Venezuela's largest-ever drugs bust aboard the "Ricky II" in Puerto Cabello on July 18 is a cause of grave concern for Trinidad & Tobago. "Our country must be harbinging a nest of major drug traffickers," says an editorial in the Trinidad Express.

The Ricky II's captain and crew members currently under investigation by DEA agents and Venezuelan authorities have confessed that the shipment was definitely bound for Trinidad & Tobago where it was to be loaded off and secured until transshipment to Europe.

Originally, it was thought that the ship would unload its legal cargo of newspaper print rolls and electric poles in Trinidad and from there proceed with the 4.175 ton cocaine cargo to Europe.

Until now, the Caribbean island has not been high on the DEA's list of transit points for the illegal drug trade, but revelations in Venezuela have changed all that.

The newspaper charges that kingpins of the Colombian cartel responsible for the cargo must have agents in Trinidad & Tobago and more information has been requested on DEA charges that six Trinidadians are connected with the shipment.

The editorial called for serious port surveillance as an immediate answer to the Ricky II haul. "We had no idea of the real extent of this illegal activity taking place in our country -- we are now in the big league."

The 4.175 tons of 94% pure cocaine seized in Venezuela is scheduled to be incinerated today (Wednesday) in Puerto Cabello.


Trinidad and Tobago, by virtue of its proximity to the South American mainland-seven miles off the Venezuelan coast-is increasingly being targeted as a transit point for cocaine destined for North America and Europe. This is especially pertinent considering recent estimates that approximately forty percent of the cocaine that enters the US transits the Caribbean. Trinidad is attractive as a transit point because of the relative ease with which maritime and air traffic can enter with illicit cargo undetected. Thousands of small boats (pirogues) travel between Trinidad and Venezuela without inspection because of a shortage of serviceable coast guard boats. Low­flying aircraft can also enter Trinidad at will because the GOTT does not yet have radar capability to detect them. Drugs are also smuggled into Trinidad aboard container vessels and pleasure craft.

Once cocaine enters Trinidad it is smuggled out on cargo vessels, in air cargo, and by couriers who conceal it on their person or in their luggage. Traffickers prefer to use Trinidad and Tobago for transit because of the perception that drugs can be easily concealed in the large volume of cargo and human traffic that emanate from there. There is also the expectation that cargo from Trinidad is less vigorously scrutinized at the arrival point than cargo originating from a drug­producing country.

While it is difficult to quantify the amount of cocaine passing through Trinidad and Tobago, estimates range up to 2000 kg per month. It is noteworthy, however, that in March 1997, four tons of cocaine were seized in Venezuela on the cargo vessel Ricky II, whose next port of call was Trinidad. The USG has reason to believe that approximately fifteen tons of cocaine per year transit through the Orinoco River delta alone, to Trinidad and points beyond. This region of the maritime border between Trinidad and Venezuela has received little attention in the past.
International Narcotics Control Strategy Report, 1997
U.S. Department of Justice / Drug Enforcement Administration

Search for answers here / The World Geopolitics of Drugs 1998/1999 Annual Report

Narco News
"War on Drugs" in Latin America


Drug War Facts - Compiled by Douglas A McVay
The Media Awareness Project - A worldwide network dedicated to drug policy reform.

To be continued....

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