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Thirteen arrested in police raids

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West End residents were awoken early yesterday morning as police carried out a series of raids, seizing guns, drugs and cash.

According to Acting Assistant Commissioner Sean Field-Lament, a total of 13 adults — eight men and five women — were arrested in three simultaneous predawn raids, while more arrests could be forthcoming.

In addition to suspected drugs, drug paraphernalia and a large quantity of cash, officers recovered three firearms and ammunition.

“Earlier this morning, police executed multiple search warrants issued under the misuse of drugs act in the Beacon Hill Lane/Railway Trail area in Sandys and Tele Lane, Warwick Parish,” Mr Field-Lament told a press conference yesterday afternoon. He added that the operation was part of a protracted transnational organised crime operation investigating money laundering and drugs.

“It was a well-planned, well-executed raid on multiple residences at the same time involving in excess of 50 officers.”

He also confirmed that officers discovered a “grow operation” during the searches.

“The investigation is currently ongoing, and we expect in due course that people will be appearing before the court,” he said. “I would like to take this opportunity to apologise to the residents of the affected neighbourhood for any inconvenience caused by this morning’s activity.”

Yesterday afternoon, police retained a heavy presence in the Beacon Hill area with numerous uniformed officers talking to residents.

One member of the public, who asked not to be identified, said he was woken up by the nearby raid.

“I was in bed when I heard shouting and banging from down the road,” he said. “I think it was a little after 4am. I looked outside and saw a load of cops. I had no idea what was going on.

“It was surprising. This is a pretty quiet neighbourhood. We’re a stone’s throw away from the police station and I believe there are a few officers who live nearby.”

Asked what he thought about the discovery of the firearms, he said: “It’s disturbing. Obviously we’ve all heard about the gang stuff, but this was a shock.”

Another resident said she was glad to see the police make the bust, although she was surprised that it happened so close.

“It’s not how I imagined my morning,” she said. “I’m glad they got the guns because that’s the last thing we want in this neighbourhood.

“This stuff needs to get dealt with.”

Another said she had been concerned by the number of police at the scene, saying: “When you see that many cops you always think the worst. I was looking online to see if someone got killed, and that’s the last thing you want to think about.”

Premier Michael Dunkley said the operation was important, adding: “The early indications are that the results are significant.

“This Government fully supports the Police in the work they have to do to keep Bermuda safe.

“I will not comment on the specifics of this case except to say that any operation that removes firearms and drugs from the streets is a success.”

Shadow Public Safety Minister Walter Roban also congratulated the police service for the successful operation, saying it might provide some relief to the public in the wake of the recent shooting at Bailey’s Bay Cricket Club, along with the other firearms incidents that have shocked the Island in recent years.

“Any operation that takes guns off the streets should be well received by all of the public,” he said.

“Any effort that shows that we have an effective service that can work with international services and carry out an operation of international significance here in Bermuda is a good thing.

“It could also provide additional revenues to the confiscated assets fund, which could be used in positive ways.”

Beacon Hill Lane, Sandys