Police: Jamaica gun-drug smuggling suspect killed in Haiti
12 October 2015, 18:27
Port-Au-Prince — A major Jamaican suspect in a guns-for-drugs smuggling network has been fatally shot by law enforcement in southern Haiti, a Jamaican police commander said Sunday.
Deputy Police Commissioner Glenmore Hinds said the underworld figure was gunned down Friday during a confrontation with Haitian officers. Jamaican investigators say the fugitive, identified only by his alias of "Mention," had been based in that island's fishing town of Old Harbor before fleeing to Haiti.
Haitian national police spokesman Gary Desrosiers said Sunday he did not have specifics from colleagues. Reports from stations in rural Haiti can take time to reach police headquarters in Port-au-Prince.
Last month, Jamaican police identified the southern Haitian island of Ile-a-Vache as "the central point from which the illicit guns-for-drugs trade operates between Jamaica and Haiti." Over the last few years, the Haitian government has been trying to transform the small outlying island into a high-end tourist resort.
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The smuggling network between criminals in Haiti and Jamaica, often referred to as the "guns-for-ganja" trade, has flourished for years and stoked Jamaica's chronically high homicide rate. Jamaican investigators say many of the illegal guns are manufactured in the U.S. and start their illegal journeys from Florida.
Besides getting concealed in cargo ship containers, Jamaicans on fishing boats have long received pistols and submachine guns in exchange for homegrown marijuana.
Jamaica's police force has recently relaunched efforts at dismantling the networks. Their latest initiative is dubbed "Get the Guns," and focuses on increasing cooperation and intelligence with Haitian counterparts.
Jamaican Police Commissioner Carl Williams recently said the partnership between the two Caribbean nations recently in the seizure of 13 guns, ammunition and 2,500 pounds of marijuana in Ile-a-Vache.