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Six high-powered rifles among 19 guns seized at wharf

Staff reporter

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

MONTEGO BAY, St James — A high-level multi-agency investigation, involving international counterparts, is currently underway following Monday's recovery of 19 illegal firearms and a large number of assorted ammunition during an operation at the wharf here in Montego Bay.

The cache of weapons includes 13 handguns — all 9-mm pistols; six high-powered rifles, 30 9-mm magazines, nine magazines for rifles and 474 rounds of assorted ammunition.

Assistant Commissioner of Police Clifford Chambers, commander of the Area One Police Division, expressed confidence that the individuals involved in the trafficking of the weapons will be nabbed.

“As it is now a high-level investigation is underway following the seizure which involves locals and overseas stakeholders and we are confident that there will be some arrests,” Chambers told the Jamaica Observer in a telephone interview yesterday.

“At this moment the team is in the field and they are trying to tie up some loose ends and to see how we can get to all those who are involved,” said the senior officer.

Police were called in on Monday after the Contraband Enforcement Team (CET) detected irregularities with a container and summoned the police. The container was opened in the presence of the police and the weapons and ammunition found.

“I really must speak to the vigilance of the CET team; they must be commended because this is the second seizure on the wharf in recent years. Back in 2008 there was a similar seizure for which a gangster in the St James space was investigated and prosecuted,” said Chambers.

When questioned why the police did not allow the individual to whom the container was addressed to come forward, he said that prior to being stripped, the container was being observed for a period of time.

“What persons are not aware of is that this was not a find that was found now, executed now and seized now. It was on the wharf... and after a considerable amount of time passed there was no one who came to claim it within the normal period which one would be a considerable time when one would usually come [so] the team decided to go in,” he explained.

“The irregularities were not observed yesterday Monday morning. The container was stripped yesterday (Monday) but the irregularities were observed long before now.”

In 2018, a cache of firearms, including an Uzi sub-machine gun, and more than 600 rounds of ammunition were found in a barrel at the wharf in Kingston.