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Police: arrests disrupt ‘major drug-trafficking ring’

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BPS HM Customs joint operation April 2022 (Photograph supplied)
BPS HM Customs joint operation April 2022 (Photograph supplied)
BPS HM Customs joint operation March 2022 US cash seized (Photograph supplied)

The work of a “major drug-trafficking ring” was hampered after a joint operation between police and customs officials, a senior detective said yesterday.

His comments came after cannabis worth about $800,000 was seized at a home this month.

A Bermuda Police Service spokesman said that officers worked with HM Customs in an operation at the airport on April 7.

He explained: “As a result, the BPS drugs unit executed a search warrant at a Hamilton Parish residence where several packages containing the controlled drug cannabis were seized, with an estimated street value of $800,000.”

The spokesman added that six people were arrested, including three who worked at the airport.

He said: “Residences in Hamilton Parish, Devonshire and Southampton were later searched, with police seizing a hydroponic system, which detectives suspect is designed to grow cannabis indoors.

“All six individuals have since been released on police bail, pending further inquiries.”

Acting Detective Superintendent Sherwin Joseph, of the BPS crime division, said: “Our teamwork has disrupted the illegal activities of a major drug-trafficking ring at the LF Wade International Airport, bent on circumventing security controls and importing illicit items into Bermuda.

“We will continue to work with our partners at LF Wade International Airport to detect, disrupt and dismantle drug-trafficking organisations and their illegal operations.

“Present security controls will also be reviewed and countermeasures implemented to mitigate the risk we have identified.”

The BPS spokesman also explained that, on March 29, Detective Sergeant Leroy Mathurin led a team from the BPS financial crime unit in an operation at the airport, working with airport authorities including HM Customs.

He said that more than $50,000 cash in US dollars was seized and a criminal investigation was launched.

The spokesman added: “A 45-year-old female foreign national was subsequently arrested on suspicion of money laundering.

“She was later released on police bail pending further inquires.”

Mr Joseph said: “We continue to rely on good relationships with our partners at the borders, to deter and/or detect occurrences of cross-border drug importation and money laundering, which can have negative economic, social and security consequences.

“Although we are unable to say at this time if these two recent examples are connected, both highlight the necessity of these joint operations.”

Investigations into both incidents continued.