Clash Over Jamaican Drug Smuggling Claims 

Clash Over Jamaican Drug Smuggling Claims 
Posted by FoM on January 03, 2002 at 15:49:37 PT
By Mark Oliver and Agencies 
Source: Guardian Unlimited
A row erupted today after a UK diplomat claimed that more than one in 10 passengers arriving at British airports from Jamaica could be smuggling in cocaine. Phil Sinkinson, deputy high commissioner in Jamaica's capital, Kingston, said up to 30kg of the drug could be arriving on each plane, often by being swallowed in packages by human couriers. 
He said Jamaican drug barons were recruiting "drug mules" - especially destitute local women - who would risk prison and death from cocaine leakages for payments of up to 3,300.However, Trevor Phillips, deputy chair of the Greater London authority, queried Mr Sinkinson's comments and argued that the Jamaicans coming to the UK legitimately would suffer because of them. Mr Phillips said: "People will say how can this be true? And if this is true, why isn't someone doing something more about it, like stopping all flights from Jamaica?"He said that "perfectly innocent" Jamaicans "will find that this is going to be used to harry them, to hinder them, to hold them up at airports." Mr Phillips said the diplomat's claims would result in an argument on "whether Jamaicans are more likely to carry drugs than anybody else . . . which we don't need at this time." However, the figures for the proportion of air passengers from Jamaica involved in smuggling drugs were backed by Detective Inspector Bruce Ballagher of Avon and Somerset constabulary. He has been leading Operation Atrium, which aims to target violent, drug-related crime, and said the figures were "in line" with police intelligence.Detectives estimate up to four tonnes of cocaine is making its way into the UK each year through drug mules, travelling on commercial flights from Jamaica. Mr Sinkinson was commenting on a recent press report that one passenger in 10 has as many as 100 packets of cocaine hidden inside them. He said it was hard to be exact but told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that this was probably "an estimate on the low side". He added: "If you consider they are coming from areas of pretty desperate poverty, a lot of them single mothers, it's very important for them to be able to get hold of a fast buck to look after the family." Although efforts were being made to stem the flow of drugs, it was impossible to screen all flyers, he said. "When you have a British Airways flight and an Air Jamaica flight going out every day, more or less, you need tremendous resources to screen every passenger." Lord Harris, chairman of the Metropolitan police authority, said the numbers were "frankly unknowable" and warned against a "hysterical reaction" to the reports. He said: "What is certain is that on the two operations mounted jointly by the Metropolitan police and HM Customs on flights to Heathrow and Gatwick in December, there were significant quantities of drugs seized." On December 3, 23 passengers on an Air Jamaica flight to Heathrow were arrested and charged with drugs offences after allegedly swallowing cocaine with a street value of up to 1m. On December 12, 250,000 worth of cocaine was discovered on a British Airways flight to Gatwick. Sixteen passengers were arrested for allegedly swallowing packets of the drug. There was "good co-operation" between British and Jamaican police forces aimed at tackling the issue, Lord Harris said. In October a woman of 30 died on a Kingston to Heathrow flight when one of the 55 packages she had in her stomach burst. DI Ballagher said: "We have been working hard to target the dealers on the streets but there is no doubt that targeting these people when they arrive off planes from Jamaica would be a highly effective way of dealing with this situation." Source: Guardian Unlimited, The (UK)Author: Mark Oliver and Agencies Published: Thursday, January 3, 2002 Copyright: 2002 Guardian Newspapers LimitedContact: letters Articles:Record Rise in Hard Drugs Smuggled into UK Model for UK Drug Laws 
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Comment #3 posted by JR Bob Dobbs on January 04, 2002 at 06:35:50 PT
Air Jamaica
  At BWI, Baltimore-Washington International, I remember noticing the Air Jamaica terminal was right at the end of the row of terminals and smack next to the customs office. I don't fly much, so this is the only time I've ever seen an Air Jamaica terminal, and its location was so amusing...
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Comment #2 posted by goneposthole on January 03, 2002 at 21:11:03 PT
Why all the demand?
There is something more than its illegality. Could it be ..Nah, nevermind, forget it.I spoke with an aged woman who was born in Munich, Germany. She was four years old when Hitler gained his power. Her father was arrested by SS troops. They shipped him to a concentration camp. She remembered the SS gestapo as 'creatures'. They were wearing gas masks. She never saw her father again. He wasn't a Jew, just a communist. The SS thought they could crush dissidents and the like. They had to live a lie. Murdering jack booted thugs with nothing else to do except roundup and hunt down people that they did not like only because of lying, demonizing, and perceiving people different than themselves as something less than human that must be exterminated. They were a sick bunch criminals who only cheapened life by their disgusting actions. Nice guys. Can you think of any other examples that would compare to the Nazi SS troops?She NEVER saw her father again.
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Comment #1 posted by mayan on January 03, 2002 at 17:17:33 PT
Will We Ever Learn?
If prohibition hadn't made illicit drugs to be worth their weight in gold we wouldn't have these problems would we? Will we ever learn?
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