Relatives and neighbors of carpenter Taranpersad Balkaran remained baffled yesterday as to how his house burnt flat in the dead of the night, with him still inside it.
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Jack: It’s a big hoax
A big hoax! That’s how Chaguanas West MP Jack Warner described media reports that Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents had arrived in Trinidad to investigate the $644 million cocaine shipment that was intercepted by US customs at Norfolk, Virgina, last month. Warner said based on media reports, citizens were fooled into believing that DEA agents were in our shores, but this was not the case, as he called on National Security Minister Gary Griffith to come clean on the issue during a motion in Parliament on Friday.
Warner said citizens ought to be told whether DEA agents had entered our shores to investigate the drug bust; whether they were still here; and whether they had sought warrants for any arrests. He said the sentiments on the streets was that the “big fish” in the drug trade were untouchable; that the checks and balances of the investigation to catch those involved had been compromised; and that this process “perhaps has gotten rotten to the core.”
Warner said the Sunshine newspaper contacted the DEA in Miami, Virginia and Washington, who said agents were not here. The newspaper contacted special DEA agent Joe Moses of the DEA Affairs Unit in Washington, who has an office in Trinidad. “He (Moses) said he personally had no knowledge of DEA agents in Trinidad.” However, Griffith said there was an ongoing investigation between the T&T Police Service and T&T Customs and Excise Division to probe the 732 kilogram cocaine seizure.
As the investigation continues, Griffith said, he can neither intervene nor comment on this confidential matter. “It would not be appropriate for me in any way to reveal matters pertaining to this investigation at this time. As far as we are aware, there is an investigation and it is progressing.” Griffith said our intelligence agencies were second to none and were doing what was required. “This bust should be seen as nothing but value to us.”
Griffith said the only people who should be upset are the criminals and politicians. He said: “We are going ahead, cracking the drug trade piece by piece.”
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