BASSETEERE, St. Kitts — The following statement from Royal St. Kitts and Nevis Police Commissioner Ian Queeley responds to social media reports and updates the public on an internal investigation now taking place. His statement follows:

Over the past few days there were several reports circulating via social and other media platforms regarding missing exhibits that were in Royal St. Kitts and Nevis Police Force custody.

I can confirm that small quantities of cannabis, which are exhibits in matters before the Magistrate’s Court, have recently gone missing from Police custody. At the time of its disappearance, the drugs were placed at a location outside of the secured exhibit room.

On discovering that the drugs were missing, an investigation was immediately launched. It is currently being supervised by the Head of the Crime Directorate, Assistant Commissioner Andre Mitchell. He will be assisted by external, experienced investigators from within the region who arrived in the Federation earlier on a previously arranged capacity building engagement.

The disappearance of these drugs is a disturbing and an extremely serious matter which is being treated with the seriousness that it deserves. The Director of Public Prosecution, Mr. Valston M. Graham, who has control of Criminal Prosecutions, was immediately informed. He has advised us in relation to both the case concerned and the ongoing investigation in respect to the disappearance of the drugs.

Because the drugs are associated with current Court cases and there is an active investigation being conducted, it would be inappropriate to divulge to the general public the full details leading to the disappearance of the drugs at this time. Further, in order to protect the integrity of the ongoing investigation, I am unable to comment on details of the investigative actions taken thus far and our findings. To do so could prejudice both the outcome of the investigation and any future criminal prosecution that may follow.

As Commissioner, I wish to assure the General Public that no efforts will be spared in our attempt to discover the identity of the person, and/or persons responsible for this unethical and reprehensible act. This is a very troubling occurrence and one that we condemn in the strongest terms.

I can also confirm that the investigation being conducted is in respect to a single incident. In light of this incident, I ordered that a separate audit be conducted with respect to our arms and ammunition inventory. The audit revealed that all is in order. Reports circulating on social and other media which suggest that there are guns and ammunition missing in relation to other court cases are malicious and completely false.

Suggestions that there has been external or improper influence in the treatment of this matter, or any other police investigation, are not only mischievous, they are malicious and unfounded. Therefore, I consider it necessary to re-emphasize that our conduct of investigations are always carried out independent of external influence or interference.

I fully understand and appreciate the public’s desire for answers. As your Commissioner, I am committed to providing those answers at the appropriate time. We are committed to identifying those responsible for this heinous act. As Commissioner, I have stated publicly, time and time again, that I will not tolerate such conduct in any shape or form by any member of the Police Force. We will continue to work to identify and eradicate such persons from law enforcement agencies and society at large.

Should anyone have information regarding this or any other matter of a criminal nature, we again appeal for your cooperation. We assure you that such information will be treated with the strictest confidence.