The recent stealing of an undisclosed quantity of Cannabis from the Sauteurs Police Station has forced the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF) to hasten its efforts to enhance the security of police stations.
“The creativity and ingenuity of those involved is what it is. We have learned from that. We have done more retrofitting not only of this police station but we have already started to install CCTVs in all police stations,” shared Supt. Vannie Curwen, Head of Community Relations Department (CRD).
On May 17, the RGPF reported that nine civilians, inclusive of two juveniles, were arrested and charged over the weekend for stealing a quantity of Marijuana from the Sauteurs Police Station after officers assigned to the station noticed the disappearance of the drugs over a period of time and took remedial action.
“Consequently, investigations revealed that individuals fished out Marijuana from the rear end of the building due to structural deficiencies,” the release stated, which raised questions from the public as to how this was possible.
Appearing as a guest on a social media programme recently, the Superintendent stated that the stealing of the drugs that were there “for a period of time,” was possible due to the building’s structural deficiencies, which has since been rectified.
He explained that the Sauteurs police station in Saint Patrick was destroyed in 2004 and so accommodation was found at a building that was originally designed to be a supermarket.
Curwen further explained that the extreme rear of the building is in boundary with another property behind and the left side of the station is in boundary with someone’s else property.
Despite there is a fence on either side of the building, Curwen said “the police do not have the access to walk around that building to have access to the exterior part of the building because of the design.”
According to the Supt., the front part of the building is used for the administrative section and accommodation for barracks while the extreme rear of the building is an addition to the building that can only be accessed from inside the building. “So, if you are in the back or side of the building I would not see you from upstairs or the front of the building, so it is not impossible for somebody to be at the back of the building and not be seen,” he explained.
Responding to concerns about the safety of the building, Curwen noted that over the past years that room has been used for storage, and this is the first time an incident as this has occurred. He added that the room where the drugs are stored is not accessed frequently. However, he admitted that in hindsight better care and attention should have been taken.
While not detailing how the individuals knew the drugs were there, how the drugs were “fished out” of the station and not wanting to go into the evidential nature of the case that the before the court, Curwen noted that the design of the building does perhaps allow for the scent to go out.
“How they knew that is any ones guess, I have had some information, we have done an investigation that why we were able to charge individuals and I am sure in due time we will all know and hear the evidence and come to our own conclusion as to how they were able to access the property and the drugs there,” Curwen stated.
He said he wishes not to blame anyone, noting that if anyone wants to commit a crime, when the opportunity presents itself, it will be done.
The Superintendent explained that when evidence is taken from a crime scene it has to be documented and again when it arrives at the station and when it changes hand. When it goes into the Evidence room, it is logged into an Evidence book and signed by all parties who handled that piece of evidence.
When asked if any officer is under investigation, Supt. Curwen said, “no stone will be left unturned externally and internally on that matter” and invited persons with information about the case, notably about if any police officer is involved, to call the hotline on 444-1958.
The nine civilians, who appeared before the St David’s Magistrate’s Court on Monday (May 17) were granted bail. The juveniles bail amount is $30,000 each with two (2) sureties. They were also placed on a curfew from 4:00pm to 6:00am daily.
Kimon and Kimani Alexander, Ron and Ronnie Stanisclaus were granted bail in the amount of $50,000 with two (2) sureties. They were ordered to report to the Sauteurs Police Station between 6:00 am and 5:00 pm. They were placed on a curfew from 5:00pm to 5:00 am daily.
Carlos Williams, Marvin Jeremiah and Travis Fullerton were granted bail in the amount of $120,000 each, they were ordered to surrender all their travel documents and obtain permission from the court to leave the State. They were also placed on a curfew from 9:00pm to 4:30 am daily.
Up to press time on Thursday, this newspaper was unable to ascertain if each accused secured bail as the May 11 news release stated that “Provided that bail is not secured by any of the accused, they will be remanded to Her Majesty’s Prison until May 26, 2021. Once bail is secured, they are scheduled to reappear at the Sauteurs Magistrate’s Court on June 22, 2021.