$.25M in ganja found on cement tug boat

by Hans | September 7th, 2009

THERE was drama on the seas Friday night just off the Claxton Bay coast when Coast Guard and police officers boarded a vessel transporting clinker from Jamaica to Trinidad Cement Limited (TCL) and seized two crocus bags of marijuana. The Tug boat Seven Mako, has since been impounded at the TCL jetty under police guard. The captain of the vessel who is from Nicaragua was arrested and up to yesterday incarcerated at a police station.Sunday Newsday was informed by police sources that acting on a tip-off, customs and police officers boarded the vessel as it was approaching the Claxton Bay jetty. It was loaded with eight metric tonnes of clinker which is a rock-like substance used in the manufacturing of cement. The aggregate was bound for the TCL cement factory.

When the vessel was berthed, a thorough search was conducted of the clinker. It was discovered that two crocus bags were lying in the bottom ceiling of a bunker beneath the tonnes of clinker.

Police observed that its contents resembled compressed marijuana, the street value of which was put at approximately $250,000. The vessel’s captain whose name was given as Noel, was arrested. The vessel is said to be owned and operated by a foreign company.

Customs Officers disclosed that the vessel was loaded in Jamaica and it is believed the marijuana was smuggled during the loading exercise. Such loading is conducted in the presence of security and custom officers, Sunday Newsday was told, but clinker throws up tremendous dust which blurs the vision of persons supervising the loading.

“Regrettably, a senior customs officer said,” the vessel’s captain had to be detained though he more than likely is not responsible for it.” The crocus bags of marijuana have been taken to the Forensic Science Centre for analysis.

Investigations are being further conducted before any charge is laid. Officials of TCL could not be reached for comment yesterday.

By AZARD ALI Sunday, September 6 2009

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