C-TOC scores big on illegal cigarette seizures this year
In one of the biggest illegal cigarette seizures since the start of the year, the Counter-Terrorism and Organised Crime Investigation Branch (C-TOC) and The Narcotics Division of the Jamaica Constabulary Force confiscated approximately $400 million worth of the illicit goods from a premises in Montego Bay, St James, yesterday.
Acting on information, officers went to a house in the upscale community of Westgate Hills and found the cigarettes stored in various sections of the house.
One man who was found at the house during the raid was arrested pending further investigations.
Victor Barrett, assistant superintendent of police at C-TOC's Intellectual Property Unit, when contacted by The Gleaner said that they were still in the process of counting the boxes of cigarettes.
"We are continuing our commitment to the country to rid the street of illicit and counterfeit cigarettes. As you know, this practice robs the country of much-needed revenue. So it doesn't matter where you are, uptown or downtown, Kingston or Montego Bay, we are coming to stop you," Barrett said.
He said that, although the investigation into this case was ongoing, he was noticing a trend and was warning persons to invest their money elsewhere.
"Based on the trend and our observation, it is highly probably that there are some persons in this country with serious money getting involved in the illicit trade.
"It takes money to buy illicit goods, it takes money to smuggle it, and it takes money to take care of any and every loose ends. This is not a poor's man business," said Barrett.
The assistant superintendent is counting on C-TOC's continued partnership with various stakeholders in the fight against the criminal underworld.
"We are going to continue our partnership with the tax department and FID (Financial Investigations Division) so we can bring these persons before the courts and start seizing their assets gained through profiting off illicit goods," Barrett said.