AS the Organised Crime and Intelligence Unit (OCIU) continues to try disrupt the activities of criminal gangs, it has noticed an increasing trend of gang leaders recruiting teenagers to stash firearms and drugs, acting Supt Gary Edwards said on Wednesday.
Speaking with reporters during the Police Service’s weekly media briefing at Sackville Street, Port of Spain, Edwards said gangs were now in the habit of using people without criminal records, such as teenagers, as mules to hide guns, drugs and other illegal items. He also issued a stern reminder to those involved in such activities that while they may be offered some money in exchange for their service, this cannot make up for the time spent in jail and the embarrassment caused to their families.
Edwards said parents ought to take a greater role in their children’s lives and pay close attention to any changes in behaviour. He called on parents to do their part in monitoring their children’s activities and ensuring they do not fall in with criminals. “Close family relationships are important. Parents should communicate with their children when they notice any changes with their children’s behaviour. They should speak to their children, find out if there is any problem so they can guide them.
“Once there is a strong family unit, children will be discouraged from associating themselves with criminal gangs.” For the months of January and February this year, Edwards reported that the OCIU recovered 3,598 rounds of assorted ammunition during exercises. This represents a 91 per cent in ammunition recovered for the same period last year, while fewer firearms were seized during this period.
Edwards confirmed that the weapons seized would be used in other criminal investigations by the Homicide Bureau, adding that at least five people have been detained in relation to murders because of evidence gathered by the unit.