"We intend to get every one of them," Police Commissioner Gary Griffith declared last night after joint security forces conducted a manhunt to arrest several suspects, including three police officers believed to be behind the kidnapping of Natalie Pollonais.
Pollonais was freed after members of a joint unit stopped a Nissan AD Wagon along the Churchill Roosevelt Highway in San Juan just after 7 pm. She was unharmed and in good health and the suspect driving the car was held. Three other suspects were later held.
Although he did not immediately disclose any information on the suspects who are in custody because the operation was still going on, the T&T Guardian was informed that two police constables from the Southern Division Police were arrested in connection with the kidnapping. Both were taken to separate locations in the Northern Division where they were interrogated. By 10 pm, a corporal from the Highway Patrol Unit was also in custody. Several other suspects were also being hunted.
Griffith declined to make a statement on the arrests.
From 10 pm, police held roadblocks in several parts of the southern city as they searched for suspects.
However, speaking to CNC3 half an hour after Pollonais was rescued, Griffith said no ransom was paid. He revealed that the rescue was an “extraction” conducted on the basis of intelligence gathering,
“This was a clinical operation that took place for the last four days and nights. There were different members of the protective services and the Defence Force,” Griffith said.
“We worked hand in hand, it was a coordinated effort. We saw the value of that type of coordination which we never saw in a while. It involved, again, I would like to thank the different members; arms of the protective services inclusive of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service, the AKU, OCIU, Special Branch, the Police Headquarters, SSA and the tactical units."
He confirmed that Pollonais was kidnapped for ransom but said she was unharmed and no ransom was paid before her extraction.
"I am not going to go into the specifics. What I can tell you, no ransom was paid, it was an extraction. We were able to get her out,” he said.
“Based on an operation that took place we were able to pinpoint, target the area. It was immense work and again, it had to do with the use of the National Operations Centre, the fusion centre, the units working together and taking intelligence to turn it into an operation."
Citizens immediately commended Griffith for his strategising and called for the perpetrators to be brought to justice.
A witness who saw Pollonais with two men dressed as police hours before she was abducted last Thursday provided vital information that eventually led to her rescue.
In an exclusive interview with the T&T Guardian hours after she was abducted in broad daylight, the witness said he saw the officers rummaging through the trunk of Pollonais' white BMW 5380 vehicle. Tips were also sent directly to Griffith using his personal number 482-GARY(4279). Citizens are encouraged to call the number to report confidentially.