THE tragic extent of Trinidad and Tobago's gun-related violence was disclosed Wednesday by head of the Organised Crime, Narcotics and Firearms Bureau ASP Vernly Gift who said that eight in every ten murders in 2015 and so far in 2016, were committed using a gun.
In addition, he said that people were now consuming marijuana baked into cookies, and that a type of mushroom which produced a hallucinatory effect, had reached the country, and being sold at $300 an ounce.
Speaking at the Police Service weekly press conference in Port of Spain, Gift said that the proliferation of illegal firearms and ammunition continues to be a challenge and guns continue to be the weapon.
According to the statistics, for the period January 2016 to date, the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service has recorded a total of two hundred and seventy (270) murders, of which 78% or 209 were committed with the use of illegal firearms. For the same period in 2015, there were two hundred and forty (240) reported murders, of which 197 or 82%, were firearm related.
So far for 2016, the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service has seized up to four hundred and sixty-one (461) firearms. Of these firearms: One hundred and thirteen (113) are Revolvers, two hundred and seventeen (217) are Pistols, Fifty-six are Shotguns, Thirty-nine (39) are Homemade Shotguns, Seventeen (17) are Rifles, Eight (8) are Sub-Machine Guns, Eight (8) are other forms of firearms, e.g., Trap guns etc. and three (3) are Air Rifles.
Between the period 2011 to 2015, a total of two thousand five hundred and eighty-six (2,586) firearms were seized by the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service. Of this amount, Revolvers – 643, Pistols – 1,169, Shotguns – 270, Homemade Shotguns – 230, Rifles – 102, Sub-Machine Guns – 66 Air Rifles – 22 and other – 80.
Regarding drug trafficking activities, police said they seized a total of eight hundred and forty-two point six two (842.62) kilogrammes of marijuana and one hundred and ninety-five point four six (195.46) kilogrammes of cocaine for this year thus far; at a street value of $11, 122, 584.00 for marijuana and $78, 184, 000.00 for the cocaine seized.
During the period 2011 to 2015, the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service has seized a total of Sixty-two thousand four hundred and thirty-five point zero six (62,435.06) kilogrammes of marijuana at a street value of approximately $824, 142, 792.00.
For the said period, one thousand and twelve point nine one (1,012.91) kilogrammes of cocaine were seized at a street value of $405,164,000.00.
According to Gift: “There has been a notable increase in persons consuming marijuana baked in cookies and brownies. This does not exempt the user from the traditional effects of marijuana; more so it can be more dangerous as the user can ingest more THC than by smoking.
THC or tetrahydrocannabinol is the chemical responsible for most of marijuana's psychological effects. Because the THC levels in marijuana are difficult to measure, so too are the amounts in these food products”.
He said: “ The OCNFB has also seen the current use of narcotics such as Mushrooms aka magic “mushrooms”, “shrooms”- within Trinidad and Tobago. These wild plants, which are usually dried and later smoked or ingested orally, contain a dangerous chemical “Psilocybin” which has hallucinogenic effects. Users have been noted to possess difficulty in discerning fantasy from reality. The dealers in this narcotic traditionally target parties where young people congregate. There is a retail price of TT$300.00 perV
Source: Trinidad Express