Lead Editor, Investigative Desk
Almost one week after Customs and Excise Division officers found $.3 million in cocaine hidden in preserved fruits at the T&T National Mail Centre in Piarco, they have made an even bigger discovery over the last three days amounting to close to TT$5m in cocaine hidden in various packages destined for the United States and other parts of the world.
Senior Customs and Excise Division sources familiar with the latest find told Guardian Media that they had been monitoring several suspicious packages at the T&T National Mail Centre since last Friday and began their search then.
During the three days up to 8.30 pm on Monday, Customs and Excise Division officers unearthed close to nine kilograms of cocaine hidden in several items. The cocaine weighed earlier on Monday, sources say, was approximately 6.5 kilograms and Friday’s seizure was estimated to be close to three kilograms. The estimated street value of one kilogram of cocaine is approximately US$80,000, so the find amounts to close to US$720,000 or TT$4.8m.
But most interestingly, the cocaine was hidden in inventive ways according to sources.
Pictures exclusively obtained by Guardian Media showed cocaine hidden in beene balls, bottles of channa, speaker boxes, car parts, coffee beans, coconut milk sweets and even fishing lines. Sources said they also found quantities of cocaine hidden in hammocks.
Most of the packages, sources said, were destined for various parts of the US but some were also to be sent to other parts of the world, including Europe.
This second cocaine find comes just over a week and a half after Customs and Excise Division officers and the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) made a significant arms and ammunition discovery at a warehouse in Couva last Monday night, which followed another large arms and ammunition find two Fridays ago the bond at the Piarco International Airport.
Officials at TT Post had issued a release after the first cocaine discovery at the T&T National Mail Centre last week commending their staff and Customs and Excise Division for their diligent work.
Sources believe a particular syndicate is responsible for this latest cocaine find and investigations are ongoing.
No arrests have yet been made for the first cocaine find last week.