Cattle thieves in St Elizabeth are employing new strategies to boost their illegal activities, including, ironically, employing some rogue farmers to temporarily store animals that have been stolen from other farmers.
In fact, the rogue farmers are providing the relevant Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) receipts to the praedial thieves once they are ready to retrieve the stolen animals, in order to trick police investigators into believing that the animals were legitimately bought.
The practice, according to head of the St Elizabeth police, Superintendent Dwight Daley, is being referred to as ‘animal laundering’.
“It will appear now that those cattle were legitimately bought, but they were, in fact, stolen from the beginning. We call it animal laundering,” Daley told reporters on the weekend.
He said the police are utilising several strategies to curb the trend of cattle thieves uniting with rogue farmers to rob law-abiding cattle farmers.
“What we are doing about this is we are monitoring the persons who we hear are involved in this activity. We put them under surveillance and we carry out regular operations,” the senior lawman stated.
“We do stop and search in the mornings, because we believe the cattle will be transported from one location to the other, and we also continue our community education,” he continued.
The police have made some progress, as since the start of the year, more than 30 heads of stolen cattle have been recovered, Daley indicated.
Some seven persons have been arrested and are before the courts in the parish for various crimes related to cattle theft, he said.
“Even this (Friday) morning, we recovered eight goats in Goshen, St Elizabeth. Six of those goats are already identified by their owners,” Daley said in relation to efforts to curtail other forms of praedial larceny in St Elizabeth.