Jamaica Observer: KINGSTON, Jamaica — The Narcotics Division has seized over $1.8 billion worth of cocaine and more than $17 million worth of ganja in operations targeting drug trafficking activities across the island since the start of the year.

“We will not relent in our efforts to rid the nation of illicit drugs,” Head of the Narcotics Division, Superintendent Jervis Moore declared.

The police said more than 100 people, including six foreign nationals, have been arrested since 2021 for involvement in these illicit activities.

According to the police’s Corporate Communications Unit (CCU), approximately 14,678 kilograms of ganja with an estimated street value of $17,613,669 and over 248,948 kilograms of cocaine worth $1,846,245,668 have been seized.

It said in the latest operation on Saturday, May 29 in Robin’s Bay, Portland, the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) Coast Guard seized a 30-foot boat and over 800 pounds of compressed ganja following an operation at sea. The estimated street value of the drug is over $3 million.

The CCU said 183 cases have been brought before the court by investigators from the Narcotics Division since the start of the year — 56 of which have so far been disposed of by the courts. Of the 56 cases disposed of, convictions have been secured in 53 cases, the CCU said, noting that this indicates a 94 percent conviction rate for the Narcotics Division for 2021 so far.

“The division is committed to its mandate and will be relentless in effectively identifying, monitoring, investigating and bringing drug traffickers before the courts with cogent evidence aimed at ensuring successful convictions and forfeiture of tainted assets,” Superintendent Moore said.

Since the start of COVID-19, the police said there has been an emerging trend with the utilisation of courier services to facilitate the movement of drugs in smaller quantities.

The Narcotics Division said it has been making significant impact to rid the trend and has embarked on special initiatives to aggressively target and arrest individuals involved in utilising the courier services for the purpose of smuggling drugs. Sixty-two people have been arrested for offenses related to trafficking drugs via courier services so far, the division said.

The police also noted that the Narcotics Division has also seized six firearms, 402 rounds of ammunition, 10 motor vehicles, and five boats in drug related operations.

Meanwhile, the police reminded the public that although the 2015 amendment to the Dangerous Drugs Act makes provisions for the smoking and use of ganja for religious purposes, it is still an offence to have more than two ounces of ganja in your possession.

It added that offenders can be arrested, charged, tried in court and, if found guilty, sentenced to a fine or to imprisonment or both.