The Financial Intelligence Unit together with a local Law Enforcement Agency executed a search warrant in an apartment building, which was occupied by Subject A and B, both citizens of Trinidad and Tobago. During the search a portion of Cannabis, EC $35,305.00 dollars, two cell phones and two receipts issued by a local money remitter showing monies sent out by both subjects were found. Subsequently they were detained and the items mentioned seized.
During interview, Subject B indicated that she merely travelled to Grenada invited by Subject A. Subject A informed that she travelled from Trinidad to Grenada, all expenses paid to collect a quantity of money on behalf of someone and as a result she invited her friend Subject B to accompany her. She continued that on arrival in Grenada she made contact with a male person via cellular phone, who gave specific directions concerning where they should meet to facilitate the collection of the cash.
The subjects subsequently met with the local male person, who handed over the sum of cash to them. They later returned to their apartment building, where Subject B contacted the person in Trinidad and Tobago, who gave instructions concerning how the money should be kept safe and undetectable until brought back to Trinidad. A and B acknowledged that they suspected strongly that the cash represented criminal proceeds and that they were part of a criminal enterprise. The cell phones were analyzed and several messages were discovered verifying their story.
Both subjects were charged with the offence of Money Laundering. They later pleaded guilty to the charge and were sentenced to eight months in prison. The cash found in their possession was forfeited to the State by the Court.
As a result of a STR filed by a financial institution, the FIU analysed and commenced investigation. Subsequently, a local enforcement agency was included and a search warrant was executed in a building occupied by Subject A and B. A number of mobile phones and paraphernalia’s were seized. Both subjects were detained for further interview. Both subjects acknowledged involvement in a drug trafficking enterprise involving exportation of cocaine to North America and Europe, involving Subjects C, D, E and F of which Subject C was the master mind.
As a result of these revelations, Subject D (responsible for logistical arrangements) was detained. Subsequent search warrants on the premises of A (identified as main organizer), B (identified as fabricator and packager), C (mastermind), E (courier recruiter) and F (courier), revealed additional items including laptops, mobile phones and financial records.
Subject F was detained and a number of financial documents and cell phones were seized. During the interview the subject gave a detailed account of the entire operation.
The items seized were analyzed, A, B, C, D and E were charged with drug trafficking and money laundering. A number of Court Orders including; Restraint and Production were obtained during the investigation.
- The use of money remitters to facilitate money transfer to several receivers.
- The use of family members and third parties to register assets.
- The recruitment of front line operators and couriers from areas of low socioeconomic background.
- The use of multiple cell phones from various companies to complicate the communication process for law enforcement.