Police say relative of prominent J'can nabbed in airport cocaine bust
The Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston where a man attempted to traffic cocaine worth US$600,000 to the United States on Monday.

A Jamaican-American man, who a police source says is the relative of a prominent member of society, has been taken into custody following a major cocaine bust at the Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston on Monday.

The police have, however, withheld the identity of the individual who is being held on reasonable suspicion of breaches of the Dangerous Drugs Act, the source told the Jamaica Observer on Tuesday.

A release from the constabulary's Corporate Communications Unit said approximately 12 kilogrammes of cocaine with an estimated street value of over US$600,000 (about $92 million) was seized during security checks after anomalies were detected in a blue suitcase destined for the United States.

The police source disclosed that the would-be passenger who was scheduled to depart on a JetBlue flight to Fort Lauderdale attempted to check in "a suitcase loaded with cocaine".

After being identified by airline agents at the boarding gate, the suspect managed to slip away while waiting to be escorted for his suitcase to be checked. "He left the location and departed the airport before he was held [by the police]," the source said.

A man hunt was launched by the Jamaica Constabulary Force's (JCF) Narcotics Division in the Kingston 6 area and the suspect was apprehended.

"The police went and did a search of an address that is connected to him and he was persuaded to report to the police after a conversation," the source said.

The narcotics police are continuing investigations into the matter.

Up to press time, the source said the police were waiting for the suspect to retain the services of an attorney to begin questioning.

The Dangerous Drugs Act allows for the monitoring and control against the illicit use of specific narcotic drugs such as cocaine, morphine and psychotropic substances such as ganja (marijuana).

Under the Act, a person found in possession of cocaine is liable on conviction before a Circuit Court to a fine or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 35 years, or both; and on summary conviction before a resident magistrate to a fine not exceeding $500,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years, or both.

BY ALECIA SMITH Senior staff reporter smitha@jamaicaobserver.com

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