Six soldiers now being questioned in ganja bust

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Senior staff reporter

Lieutenant Colonel Dameon Creary, acting Colonel General Staff at the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF), speaking at a press briefing at Up Park Camp in Kingston yesterday. (Photo: Naphtali Junior)

SIX people are now being interrogated by the security forces about the 1,500 pounds of ganja seized by the police at Gutters, St Elizabeth, on Tuesday.

Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) Acting Colonel General Staff Dameon Creary told the press yesterday that the two soldiers who were caught with the drugs by the police, after an alleged gunfight, are still being questioned by the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF).

According to Lieutenant Colonel Creary, who spoke at a press briefing at Up Park Camp in Kingston, the army is not involved in the interrogation. However, he disclosed that four other soldiers were being questioned by the army at its Up Park Camp.

“We are questioning these four other soldiers to determine whether or not anyone was complicit, and whether or not there was any negligence in the conduct of their duties. We continue to support the police and to collaborate with them,” he stated.

He also confirmed that the vehicle, a “minivan”, that was transporting the drugs belongs to the army, and one of the soldiers had been involved in drug trafficking. The JDF vehicle used in the transportation of the drug was intercepted by the police in Gutters, a small town close to Black River in St Elizabeth.

Colonel Creary said the army is questioning the four to determine whether more people are involved in the suspected criminal activity, which led to the arrest of the two soldiers.

He said that no JDF weapon was used in the gunfight.

“The investigations revealed that the suspect soldier was engaged in renewed actions and raised suspicions that he intended to use a JDF service vehicle in the transport of illicit contraband. Using the newly installed closed circuit television at the Cannon Ball Gate, two soldiers were observed leaving Up Park Camp at approximately 17:08 hours on Tuesday,” he said.

The colonel said that, at this point, JDF contacted its partners in the Narcotics Division of the JCF to commence an operation to interdict the soldiers, and it was eventually confirmed that they were in possession of the contraband.

He said that the weapons used by the soldiers during the shoot-out did not belong to the JDF, and there was no indication whether they were licensed.

He attributed the success of the operation to the JDF’s robust internal monitoring system, as well as the army’s strong partnership with the JCF.

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