Electronic tracing has begun on the 102 firearms which were recovered since the state of emergency was implemented on August 21. The electronic tracing system, also known as eTrace, is being conducted by police officers of the Crime and Problem Analysis Branch (CAPA). CAPA previously was known as the Modus Operandi Unit of the Police Service. The eTrace system is a web-based firearm trace request submission system that provides for the electronic exchange of crime gun data in a secure web-based environment.
An officer at CAPA said several serial numbers found on the illegal weapons had been submitted to the unit by investigating officers. He said CAPA was still awaiting the submission of other serial numbers from the guns recovered during the emergency. He added: "Apart from the serial number the investigator will also submit the make and model of the firearm to CAPA. "CAPA will then send the information to the bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), based in the US," the officer explained.
He said from the serial numbers submitted to the ATF thus far, there had not been any correspondence from ATF regarding the origin of the guns or whether it was linked to any other crimes abroad. The officer added that if eTrace did not relay any results to CAPA then Interpol would intercede. However, an Interpol officer said there was no doubt from the weapons found it was clear the criminals possessed far more sophisticated firearms than the police. He mentioned the recent recovery of a gun in T&T which was traced to a manufacturer in Italy. "That firearm was shipped to Barbados and it found its way in Trinidad and it was used in a murder," the officer added.
About the electronic tracing system
The Electronic Tracing System, eTrace, is an Internet-based system that allows participating law enforcement agencies to submit firearm traces to the ATF's National Tracing Centre (NTC). Authorised users can receive firearm trace results, via this same Internet web site, search a database of all firearm traces submitted by their individual agency and perform analytical functions.
Firearms tracing is the systematic tracking of the movement of a firearm recovered by law enforcement officials from its creation by the manufacturer or its introduction into US commerce by the importer through the distribution chain to the first retail purchase. Law enforcement traces a firearm recovered at a crime scene to develop investigative leads that may link a suspect to a firearm in a criminal investigation; identify potential traffickers and detect in-state, interstate and international patterns in the sources and kinds of crime guns.