By Caribbean News Now contributor
KINGSTON, Jamaica — Concerns have been raised over the possibility of false arrests by corrupt local police officers in Jamaica of individuals alleged to be trafficking drugs.
Earlier this month, a 25 year old male Saint Lucian cruise ship worker, with no prior arrests or previous criminal record, was arrested at the Falmouth Pier in Trelawny.
The man, Akim Loctor, was arrested and charged with possession of one pound of cocaine values at approximately US$5,000 with the intent to supply.
Questions were asked in a recent blog posting by a Miami-based financial crime and money laundering expert as to whether Jamaican police officers were setting up narcotics arrests and drug seizures to make Jamaican Constabulary Force (JCF) look good, especially to the United States.
According to the posting, rumours about individuals being entrapped or intimidated into participating in staged arrests have appeared from time to time in Jamaica. These are apparently not bona fide arrests, but are allegedly created to build statistics favourable to Jamaica law enforcement, which would be useful ammunition in its relationship with the US, which has been critical of Jamaica’s drug interdiction program.
Last year, David Clarke of Kingston, was awarded US$48,000 in compensation by the courts for false arrest and imprisonment when his firearms and ammunition charges were dismissed.
The JCF failed to respond to two emailed requests for comment on this issue.
However, a senior US law enforcement agent confirmed to Caribbean News Now on condition of anonymity that US authorities are well aware that corrupt Jamaican police officers are facilitating major traffickers move large quantities of drugs to the US via cruise ships and commercial airlines.
However, they are more interested in the individuals “higher up the trafficking and money laundering food chain”, which apparently may extend high into the stratosphere of Jamaica’s business elite, including some regionally significant names.
Meanwhile, Loctor was scheduled to appear in court on Tuesday in Trelawny Parish. However, no recent word on his status is available.