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SOLDIERS, COPS TEMPTED - Chang says drug dealers enticing JDF, JCF officers with big bucks

Published:Friday | October 16, 2020 | 12:16 AMEdmond Campbell/Senior Staff Reporter
The compressed ganja seized in the vehicle being driven by the soldiers.
The compressed ganja seized in the vehicle being driven by the soldiers.
National Security Minister Dr Horace Chang.
National Security Minister Dr Horace Chang.

As the security forces make significant inroads into the local drug trade, National Security Minister Dr Horace Chang said that the major narcotics dealers are dangling big money before members of the security forces to entice them to assist them in their illicit activities.

“The big drug dealers are going to make every attempt to corrupt the entire legal system in Jamaica, and they have the money to do it. What we have to do is take steps to prevent it and mitigate the damage,” Chang, who is also deputy prime minister, said.

“The JDF (Jamaica Defence Force) has some 8,000 men. They are from the society we are in. All recruits would have been vetted, and there is continuous monitoring and training, but with the kind of money involved with drugs, they (drug dealers) pursue it aggressively, and I am sure they’ll find someone to break rank, and that’s what happened in St Elizabeth,” Chang said of the major drug bust on Tuesday night involving two corporals.

A high-level probe is now taking place into the drug bust after the two soldiers were found with a large quantity of ganja after a high-speed chase and gunfight with cops.

Yesterday, senior JDF officials revealed that another four soldiers are being questioned in relation to Tuesday’s incident.

Chang told a digital press conference yesterday that major drug dealers have become desperate as law enforcement cracks down on the illicit activities.

“What happened in St Elizabeth, I am not entirely surprised because I think the organisers, the big purveyors of drugs, are going to make every attempt to impugn the character of the security forces,” he asserted.

Chang said that both the army and the Jamaica Constabulary Force have been re-equipped to tackle drug trafficking, with several activities expanded, resulting in “much better intelligence on drug trafficking”.

He said that the apprehension figures and drug seizures have been extremely high in the last year, noting that law enforcement was scrambling to find space to store the seized drugs at this time.

The national security minister observed that the heightened crackdown on the illicit drug trade has led to significant fightback by the criminals, some resorting to attacking cops and their families.

“Drug trading is big money,” said Chang, citing an example in recent times on the north coast where the police seized cocaine valuing $20 million. “When criminals lose that kind of money, they begin to fight back,” Chang noted.