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DEA joins hunt for drug pushers in T&T

By Curtis Williams

The US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) will join forces with local security agencies to put the heat on drug barons in T&T.

There is to be an increased targeting of the drug dealers in an effort to halt the spiralling crime wave in T&T, sources the Guardian was told.

Sources in both the Ministry of National Security and the police service confirmed they have held discussions with the DEA and are coming up with a strategy which will see drug dealers being targeted in operations similar to that of operation King Fish in Jamaica.

National Security Minister Martin Joseph would only confirm there is close collaboration between the DEA and the local forces.

He said: "I do not think it is in the country’s interest to talk about this matter and give the drug pushers the heads up, but I will confirm that the DEA are operating here and already we are beginning to see some movement."

Joseph has been at pains to link the increased criminal activity with that of drug trafficking, telling Parliament during the recent budget debate that guns were being brought onto the street as part of the trans-shipment drug activity.

Waldo Santiago, public information officer for the DEA’s Caribbean operations, confirmed that the DEA has ongoing operations in T&T.

Asked if there were drug lords in this country in whom the DEA is interested, Santiago said: "We are interested in all drug lords, wherever they might be. But the fact is I will not comment on operational issues, nor say if there is any specific person we want, or who may be in Trinidad and Tobago."

Santiago said the DEA office in Trinidad continues to work with the local authorities in the counter-narcotic efforts.

National security sources say with the assistance from the DEA, the FBI and other international security agencies, it is hoped that the local police service can finally get a handle on the spiralling crime situation.

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