British Virgin Islands has a huge problem with drugs and corruption, highlighted by nearly two and a half tonnes of cocaine seized from a serving police officer's house.
The $200 million stash is the equivalent to three quarters of the entire national budget of the tiny UK overseas territory. The record breaking raid heaps pressure on ministers to do more to tackle corruption in the troubled region that is central to the South American drug trafficking trade into the United States.
The 2,300 kg stash was discovered on Friday night hidden in 63 bundles across three vehicles during a raid on a house being built by a serving officer of the Royal Virgin Island Police Force. The officer has been named as Darren Davis, 41, who has served for 20 years.
Davis and an accomplice have been arrested and his suspected criminal connections are being probed, along with any other corrupt cops in the force.
Law enforcement sources point to possible side effects of the Covid-19 crisis meaning that large amounts of cocaine, usually bound for the United States, is being bottlenecked due to a flat drugs market and restrictions on travel.
The BVI is currently under a night time curfew and private boats are not allowed on the waters after dark - meaning nefarious activity has been easier to spot.
BVI Governor Gus Jaspert said: “This is not the work of a few criminals slipping through the crack, but strong evidence of serious and organised criminality in the British Virgin Islands.”
He added “there may be pockets of corruption facilitating this activity” and warned “we must act fast” to make sure it does not spread.
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