By Nalinee Seelal
Appropriately named "Operation Anaconda" for the squeeze that it will put on escalating crime in this country, the long awaited National Crime Plan rolled into action early yesterday morning as a convoy of more than 50 vehicles with 300 policemen and soldiers left St James Barracks and throughout the day carried out raids, stopped motor vehicles, searched and frisked people and made their presence felt in areas along the east-west corridor.
Even as "Anaconda" put the squeeze on a largely law abiding public, the Chaguaramas branch of Republic Bank located at Crew's Inn was robbed of $25,000 by a lone, masked gunman, who shot a nearby yachtie John Jeffrey, 79. The gunman's accomplice tried to steal Jeffrey's dinghy for a getaway, but was foiled when Jeffrey put up a struggle in the water with the man. The gunman escaped in a waiting vehicle.
Armed with search warrants Operation Anaconda targetted Laventille and Morvant which were the prime areas of the dragnet, and which yielded 27 people, including one woman, who were held for questioning. The number included two murder suspects, six for robbery and possession of a weapon and bush rum. A gun was seized.
There was traffic congestion on the Western Main Road, Cocorite where cars were stopped and searched.
In a release issued yesterday, Minister of National Security Howard Chin Lee described the joint operation as successful. According to Minister Chin Lee the exercise targetted high crime zones.
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