Boxes, buckets could have been weighted with drugs

By Monique Washington

The high rank police officers of the Royal St. Christopher and Nevis Police Force boasted of a 517 lbs. $7.75 million drug bust last year in November, but on Tuesday, only 436lbs. arrived in court with a street value of $5.2 million.

Patricesia James, a Cherry Garden resident appeared in Magistratecourt on Tuesday and Magistrate Yasmine Clarke found guilty of having in her possession over $5.2 million dollars of cannabis, but she was arrested in 2015 with $7.75 million dollars’ worth of the drug, according to a police report filed in 2015, over $2.5 million more what the amount brought to court.

“A joint search conducted today (November 13) at 12.15 p.m. on the residence of Patricesia James in Cherry Gardens, Nevis resulted in the seizure of 517 lbs. of marijuana with a street value of ECC $7.75million dollars. This is the largest seizure by Police in recent years. James was arrested and has been charged with illegal possession and possession with intent to supply and will be expected to appear before the Court shortly,” the 2015 police release read.

Inquiries at the Charlestown and Basseterre police stations resulted in high ranking officers pointing to different stations. A police office in Nevis stated that the investigations were carried out by officers in St. Kitts, while St. Kitts officers said  itwas a Nevis matter.

On Tuesday, the Observer questioned the Commissioner of Police (CoP) Ian Queeley about the large difference in the amount of narcotics brought to court, compared to the  initial amount they claimed they had.

“During that period we had a lot of drugsseized, so I don’t know if it was a combined weight they were referring to,” CoPQueeleytold the Observer.

However, Queeley was quoted days after the drug bust last November saying“this most recent seizure was a result of a joint operation conducted by our officers. It was also the result of hard work and commitment to the very challenging task at hand. Our teams successfully executed an operation that resulted in the seizure of this very significant quantity of illegal drugs and the arrest of one person.”

CoPQueeleydirected the Observer to Inspector Travis Rogers,Anti-Narcotics Squad (Drug Squad).

Inspector Rogers told the Observer that 517 lbs. were the initial amount of drugs received from Nevis after the bust. He explained the difference in weight can be attributed to the way they weighed the drugs in Nevis.

“They could have weighed them in the bags and buckets the drugs were found in. They could have weighed them in the boxes that the drugs were sent to St.Kitts in and this could impact the weight difference. It could also be that the scale that they used is different to the one that drug analysis used. There are many factors,” he claimed.

Rogers explained that shortly after the bust the drugs were taken to St. Kitts to be “properly secured.”

“Because of the Jamaica-style drugs we wanted to properly secure them in St.Kitts. We just didn’t want anything to happen to them,” Inspector Rogers explained.

He said that after the drugs arrived to St.Kitts they were sent to the analysis to be tested and weighed and this weight is the “official” weight of the drugs,

Rogers explained he orchestrated the movement of the drugs from St.Kitts to Nevis and trusted the officers who were in charge of transporting the drugs.

“We (police) do not steal drugs” he said.