US report: "T&T achieves considerable gains in fight against narcotics; major trafficker extradited"

Wednesday, March 2, 2016 - 20:00

The United States Department of State says Trinidad and Tobago has made considerable accomplishments in the fight against illegal narcotics in 2015, including the extradition of a major drug trafficker.

Its findings are in the 2016 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR) released on Wednesday.

The report shows an increase in the amount of drugs seized by law enforcement officers in 2015, over the previous year.

It states: "Robust interdiction efforts in 2015 resulted in an increased overall volume of drug seizures. The Government of Trinidad and Tobago continues to progress in its ability to investigate and prosecute complex drug cases that target criminal networks."

For the year, law enforcement entities seized 2,541 kilograms of marijuana and 392 kg of cocaine, an increase compared to 471 kg and 83 kg of these respective drugs in 2014. 

It commends this country for extraditing a major drug trafficker last year.

"In 2015, several fugitives were returned to the United States from Trinidad and Tobago for prosecution, including a major narcotics trafficker," the report says.

The report also notes that the more drugs entered T&T waters than in 2014.

"Illegal drug shipments appeared to increase in 2015, mainly originating from Trinidad’s southern neighbors," it says.

The report says that Trinidad and Tobago demonstrates continued commitment to drug control through bilateral cooperation with the United States and intelligence sharing with countries of origin, transit, and destination. 

"The Government of Trinidad and Tobago regularly communicates with local, regional, and international organizations, collaborating on international and national priorities," it adds.

However it notes that Trinidad and Tobago’s drug control institutions, are challenged by deficiencies in staffing and funding, and that distrust within and between certain units of law enforcement, the military, and the intelligence community impedes effective interagency information sharing and collaboration.

The report concludes that while the entities and individuals working to combat narcotics trafficking in Trinidad and Tobago face considerable institutional challenges, "there were considerable accomplishments in 2015 that included successful investigations and increased interdictions, extraditions of known narcotics traffickers, and improved international cooperation".