Police arrested four men and seized excavation equipment on Saturday after the Multi-Agency Task Force (MATF) acted on reports from the Forestry Division, relative to illegal quarrying being conducted in an area known as Five Acres, Vega De Oropouche, Sangre Grande.
The TTPS said the MATF commenced INVESTIGATION PLAN- VAUXHALL, as an intelligence-based thrust to interdict illegal actors and conducted extensive surveillance of the area.
They obtained information and intelligence, which highlighted different illegal operators conducting unlicensed and unauthorized mining, digging and processing activities in the area, which is designated as part of a Forest Reserve.
The Police said given the intelligence gathered, the MATF planned and executed Operation VAUXHALL, in conjunction with the operators of the Multi-Option Police Section (M.O.P.S.) and with additional support from the National Operations Task Force (N.O.T.F.) and the TTPS Air Support Unit (ASU).
During the early hours of Saturday 2nd December 2023, MOPS with MATF investigators entered the Five Acres Forest Reserve, where they observed people operating excavators to dig material, load trucks and move dirt- type material at various points at the site.
An interdiction process was executed by members of the MATF, supported by the NOTF and ASU personnel, which led to the arrest of four people. The investigators also seized one CAT 336 Excavator, one CAT 320 Excavator, one suction pump and two lengths of two-inch diameter hose. They also seized a quantity of documents related to the quarrying activity.
The arrested men were conveyed to the Sangre Grande Police Station pending further enquiries. The operation was coordinated by Commissioner of Police, Erla Christopher and DCP (Ag.) Curt Simon and directly supervised by ASP Haynes.