Police officers swooped down in several crime hot spots yesterday, arresting 25 suspects including two women as day three of the state of emergency took effect. The raids, which began around 3 am, were carried out in Marabella, Mon Repos and Pleasantville, areas which are under the 9 pm to 5 am curfew. No weapons were seized but law enforcement officers recovered a quantity of narcotics. Senior officers have hailed the curfew as a success since there had been a decrease in criminal activity over the past three days. However, other officers expressed concern about reprisal when the curfew ends.
"This is a war they have started, some of the gang leaders and drug lords we have touched are only keeping quiet for now. They will be coming back for us as soon as this is over," said one senior officer. Led by Sergeant Anthony Charles, a large contingent of police officers executed the raids while the curfew was still in effect. The officers invaded the Marabella Train Line and hauled people out of their homes. At Orchid Gardens, Pleasantville, officers searched the apartment buildings where they arrested four men wanted in connection with several robberies. As some of the suspects were being detained by police they claimed their innocence, accusing the police of arresting them merely to justify the raids on their homes.
A woman, who gave her name as Chezrae, said she understood that the policemen had a job to do but they were arresting innocent people as well. Chezrae came back to her apartment around 10 am and saw policemen arresting her boyfriend. She said: "I had left home earlier on to purchase food at the supermarket and I left my boyfriend home with my two children. When I came home I saw him in handcuffs. "They did not say anything about why he was arrested and they took him for no reason. There was no one smoking and I heard they knocked on the door and they just took him." Chezrae said the officers could have conducted their search differently. She said they allegedly barged into an apartment where a woman was bathing.
The officers then locked down the Mon Repos HDC apartment buildings where they arrested two women who were allegedly found with several small packets of marijuana, she added. A senior officer said: "We have started to target gang leaders, gangsters, drug lords and some of the gangs emanating out of these areas. "Soon we will be going into the other areas where there have been crime. So far we have a quantity of narcotics but we haven't gotten any firearms.
"Some of the people we have detained are believed to be gangsters according to the anti-gang team. We have arrested 25 people, with two women included. They will be charged with possession of marijuana." Another senior officer said so far they had not arrested anyone for breaking the curfew. "The only reports of crime we got so far was larceny of a motorcar in Marabella and robbery in San Fernando on Tuesday. These two incidents are being dealt with and they have occurred in the daylight. Nothing has happened during curfew hours," the senior officer said.