Barbados has been linked to a recent multi-million dollar cocaine bust at the United Kingdom’s Gatwick International Airport.
The Express daily newspaper of the UK is also reporting that so far, a Barbados-born UK resident has been arrested and charged in connection with the three million pound (close to Bds$8 million) suspicious shipment, which arrived at Gatwick from Barbados on Sunday, July 17.
Three days later, 54-year-old Errol Watson was held outside his home in Wanstead, East London on July 20. Watson was subsequently charged with importation of controlled drugs and was remanded into custody following an appearance at the Thames Magistrates’ Court.
The paper further quoted a spokesman for National Crime Agency (NCA) as saying that two men, aged 28 and 41, were also arrested in London and have been bailed pending further enquiries.
“Border Force officers recovered around 18 kilos of liquid cocaine [aboard a cargo plans] hidden inside three metal canisters described as oil filters,” the Express said.
It also revealed that the “Class A” drugs were dyed pink, as part of the plan to evade law enforcement authorities.
“We believe this operation has successfully disrupted an organized crime group who thought unaccompanied freight was a low-risk way of moving Class A drugs into the UK,” Steve McIntyre of the NCA’s Border Policing Command was quoted by the paper as saying.
“Tackling organized criminals who choose to exploit border vulnerabilities such as air cargo is a high priority for the NCA,” he added, while stating that the “significant” arrests made so far would not have been possible without the close cooperation of the Royal Barbados Police Force (RBPF).
“Our investigation is ongoing, both here and in the Caribbean,” Mcintyre added.
When contacted tonight, the local Crime Chief, Acting Assistant Commissioner Lybron Sobers, told Barbados TODAY, he was aware of the development. However, he said the RBPF was awaiting certain official documentation from the UK in order to be certain of the suspected link.
In the meantime, Sobers confirmed that a local probe had started into the matter, but the crime chief said, as far as he was aware, no arrest warrants had been issued for anyone in Barbados, as was reported by the Express.