Cops follow Trelawny lead in gun probe

January 13, 2021
The assault rifles that were seized on Monday evening.
The assault rifles that were seized on Monday evening.

The 19 firearms, including six high-powered rifles and 13 pistols, as well as 472 rounds of ammunition seized at the Montego Bay Freeport wharf in St James yesterday, were reportedly shipped from the United States to an address in Trelawny.

Minister of National Security Dr Horace Change yesterday said that the seizure was a result of an "intelligence-driven" operation, which he said is evidence of the increased efficiency of the police.

A highly placed law enforcement official told THE STAR that the barrel was labelled as having contained toiletries and food items.

"Following the seizure, an investigation was launched into the whereabouts of the individual to whom the barrel was shipped, and that individual, who is presently being sought by the police, is also believed to be from an address in the parish of Trelawny," the law enforcement official said.

The Montego Bay Freeport wharf has been the scene of several gun and ammunition finds over the years. In May 2019, six illegal firearms and more than 1,500 assorted rounds of ammunition were seized during an operation there. Just days before that, a similar operation led to the seizure of more than 1,800 assorted rounds of ammunition at the same facility.

Yesterday, Chang said that the disruption of gangs and the targeting of their firearms and funding sources are top priorities of the Jamaica Constabulary Force.

Chang said that the increased seizures were "a result of the heightened trust and confidence of the residents in the police, which leads to more accurate and actionable intelligence".

He said that 626 illegal guns were recovered last year, with the the majority being seized in St James.

"While the Government continues to provide strategic investment and the legislative support to facilitate the work of the police, it is the relentless commitment of these officers to degrading criminal gangs, and interrupting their activities, thereby ensuring a safer more secure Jamaica, that I wish to commend," Chang said.

The police have seized 39 illegal firearms in the first 11 days of 2021.

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