Pubdate: Mon, 06 Nov 2006
Source: Jamaica Observer (Jamaica)
Copyright: 2006 The Jamaica Observer Ltd,
Author: Vaughn Davis, Observer Staff Reporter


Drug mules are trading marijuana for cocaine in Curacao then 
reintroducing the cocaine to the streets of Jamaica, says Senior 
Superintendent Carlton Wilson of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) 
Narcotics Division. But Wilson said most of the cocaine was destined 
for the United Kingdom for sale and distribution there.

" We see a trend where cocaine is being imported from Curacao. They 
(drug mules) take the ganja down to Curacao and trade it for cocaine, 
then smuggle it back into Jamaica, using all the regular means, like 
swallowing it (or) putting it among commercial goods," Wilson told 
the Observer. W ilson noted, however, that the Narcotics branch had 
seen a significant reduction in the amount of drug mules going in and 
out of the island, as well as the amount of cocaine on the streets.

" We still have a reduction in the amount of drug mules. Part of the 
reason for that is we really put a dent in the cocaine trade with the 
arrest of some major players. and the assistance of our international 
partners, protecting our coastline and our waters," he said.

"There is hardly any (cocaine activities) that we are encountering, " 
he added. That situation had resulted in more cocaine activity being 
carried out in the eastern Caribbean islands, with figures showing 
the bulk of the region's cocaine seizures occurring there.

However, as cocaine seizures dropped in Jamaica, there had been an 
increase in ganja seizures, with the Narcotics police already seizing 
more than twice the amount of ganja grabbed during last year, Wilson 
told the Observer. "Last year, we seized under 15,000 kilograms of 
ganja, and this year we have seized over 34,000 kilograms," he said.

The heavy cultivation of ganja continued, Wilson noted, even in the 
face of heightened efforts by the police to eradicate covert ganja 
fields. Though the eradication process continues, Wilson reported, 
the efforts of the police were being hindered by lack of proper 
equipment, even with the assistance of the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF).

" We know where the ganja is, but we can't access it," he said. The 
Narcotics Division estimates that a pound of ganja may fetch between 
$1,500 and $7000, depending on the scarcity, and to a lesser extent, 
the quality of the drug. Cocaine however, was fetching between 
$400,000 and $350,000 per kilogram, because of scarcity.
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