COP Miller urges criminals to leave hills alone
February 1, 2013

COP Miller urges criminals to leave hills alone

Local law enforcement officers do not have to wait on another exercise of the scale of Operation Vincy Pac to carry out drug eradication programmes in the hills.{{more}}

In fact, officers are currently carrying out raids in the hills and are destroying plantations in the process.

“We start already and this is no secret, because we want to make it easy for us,” Commissioner Keith Miller said at Tuesday’s drug destruction at Rabacca.

“Yes, we want to make arrests, but where we can’t make arrests, the object is to destroy.”

Miller said that the police do not want St Vincent and the Grenadines to be seen as a haven for criminals, hence the reason for stepped up activities in the mountains.

“….This is no secret. I want people out there to be aware of this. I want the criminals to be aware of that. Our presence is being felt already.

“So, I only want to advise them to leave the hills alone; the hills are for forestry officers and for legitimate farmers and other persons who have legitimate reasons up there.

“We have members of the forestry, we have legitimate farmers who go up into the mountains everyday to do their legitimate business; we do not want them to be apprehensive in going there and doing their lawful work, because of persons who may be present there doing illegal activities. We do not want them to be apprehensive from going any place over St Vincent and the Grenadines. We have a right to traverse St Vincent and the Grenadines peacefully and lawfully.”

Miller noted that there are many activities which are linked to cultivation, use and abuse of drugs.

“What is important for us to note is that where drugs are present, other illegal activities are involved.

“There is the movement of illegal firearms; there is the risk or threat to lives; just recently, as you aware, we recorded 28 homicides for last year; four of them occurred in the mountains and our suspicion is that those killings were drug related,” Miller said.

“Persons may end up with a spliff… but it is important for us to consider what is involved in the cultivation of marijuana in the hills, what it takes from the field to the user; that is something that we must take into account.”

The two-week Operation Vincy Pac took place in the mountainous interior of St Vincent in May 2009. It involved several hundred law enforcement personnel from the Regional Security Systems member countries and police and army personnel from Trinidad and Tobago. It was reported that over 8.5 million marijuana plants, including 7.3 million seedlings, were destroyed during the operation. Thirty persons were arrested and three persons killed. Twelve firearms and 395 rounds of ammunition were recovered.(JJ)