Cops still ‘actively’ probing 2-y-o cocaine bust at St Mary airport Loop Jamaica

The content originally appeared on: Jamaica News Loop News

Nearly two years after a multi-billion-dollar cocaine seizure at Ian Fleming International Airport in St Mary, a senior crime officer in the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) is adamant that arrests will be made in the matter, as it is being “actively” pursued by investigators.

The cocaine, valued at J$3.8 billion at the time, weighed over 1,000 pounds. It was seized on Friday, September 23, 2022.

To date, no one has been arrested in relation to the seizure, leaving many to publicly speculate about the lack of arrest and any further information on the seizure that was dubbed as one of the island’s largest ever cocaine seizures at the time.

When pressed for an update at a JCF press conference last week, Fitz Bailey, the Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) in charge of the crime and security portfolio, said investigations remain ongoing.

He said local law investigators are collaborating with their international law enforcement counterparts on the probe.

“That matter (the probe into the 2022 drug bust) is still ongoing. We’re collaborating with our international partners and, as I indicated when that matter came up first, we are going to make arrests,” declared Bailey.

“There is no timeline to an investigation, and it is actively being pursued,” he added.

At a JCF press briefing in February of last year, Bailey pointed to “some legal issues” that were being addressed in the case between the police’s international partners and the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP).

“We have also made some applications, and I will say this; people will be arrested and charged in respect of that matter,” Bailey assured then.

At the time, too, he declined to comment on what the mentioned legal issues were, and whether they relate to extradition matters.

Police officers with knowledge of the case have also expressed concerns that months after the drug bust, no charges have been laid, this despite the coordination employed by their colleagues, the military, and United States-based law enforcers in the days leading up to the cocaine seizure.

The security forces operation was carried out between 2am and 8pm on September 23, 2022 by members of the Counter-Terrorism and Organised Crime Investigation Branch (C-TOC), the Narcotics Division and US law enforcement agents.

In a subsequent release at the time, Bailey informed that the cocaine was destined for Canada.

“The objective of the operation was to intercept and seize cocaine destined for Canada. During the operation, some 500.2 kg of cocaine or 1100.5 pounds was seized and taken to a police facility for processing,” Bailey said then.

“The value of the cocaine is estimated to be over US$25 million.”

The operation and subsequent seizure was also part of the then Operation Relentless II, a joint partnership between the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) and the JCF. The partnership was aimed at targeting criminal gangs and gangsters involved in violent crimes and other aspects of the illicit gun trade.