Pubdate: Wed, 19 Sep 2007
Source: Jamaica Gleaner, The (Jamaica)
Copyright: 2007 The Gleaner Company Limited
Author: Glenroy Sinclair, Assignment Coordinator
Bookmark: (Marijuana)
Bookmark: (Cocaine)


Jamaica has kept its place on the United States government's narcotics
watch list, despite what police say is a "major dent" in the fight
against illegal drugs.

"Based on our consistent effort and hard work, over the past years
especially, we believe we have done enough to take Jamaica off the
U.S. watch list," said a senior narcotics investigator who asked not
to be named.

At the same time, head of Jamaica's Narcotics Police Division, Senior
Superintendent of Police (SSP) Carlton Wilson said his team of
officers has been doing a fantastic job in fighting the drug trade.

Arrested and Extradited

"Since 2004, we have arrested and extradited some of the major
players. Some of them are persons who the United States president has
referred to as "drug kingpins". While some are still pending
extradition hearings, others have gone underground," said SSP Wilson.
"For some time now, there has been a lull in cocaine seizures and an
increase in the seizure of cannabis (ganja)."

With the assistance of their overseas counterparts, backed by new
equipment, additional training and improved intelligence-gathering
capability, SSP Wilson said his team has been able to put a dent in
the drug trade.

The police claim they have confiscated more than $350 million over the
past three years, which was suspected to be involved in money
laundering. In addition they have seized 50 posh vehicles since January.

Earlier this year a Portmore woman was nabbed after the lawmen found
more than $100 million stashed away in her freezer. On Monday night
the police intercepted a blue Toyota Corolla vehicle, along Highway
2000. A total of 838 pounds of compressed ganja was found. Two men
have since been arrested and charged with dealing, possession of and
taking steps export ganja.

SSP Wilson said the narcotics police have maintained their vigilance
to prevent those who have gone underground from returning to the market.

However, this did not stop the island from being named as a major
player in the illegal drug industry.

The Presidential Determination on Major Drug Transit or Major Illicit
Drug Producing Countries for Fiscal Year 2008 include; Afghanistan,
The Bahamas, Bolivia, Brazil, Burma, Colombia, Dominican Republic,
Ecuador, Guatemala, Haiti, India, Jamaica, Laos, Mexico, Nigeria,
Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, and Venezuela.

A report on the US State Department website explains that one of the
reasons that major drug transit or illicit drug producing countries
are placed on the list is the combination of geographical, commercial,
and economic factors that allow drugs to transit or be produced
despite the concerned government's most assiduous enforcement measures.

Another report also said these are countries which have failed to
demonstrate substantial efforts during the previous 12 months to
adhere to international counter-narcotics agreements and to take
measures specified in United States law.

The Financial Investigation Division, which has been operating out of
the office of the Ministry of Finance and Planning, has been working
in collaboration with the Narcotics Division and together they have
investigated a number of suspicious looking transactions which have
taken place at some financial institutions. 
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