A member of the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force has described as misguided, an alleged attempt to conceal cocaine in buckets of mortar-like substances presumably from sniffer dogs.
Detective Constable Thomas Himbury made the remark while he testified yesterday in a 2015 case against David Straker, Donald George, Anderson Flax, and Lindon Chiverton.
The four, who allegedly were found in British Virgin Islands waters with some 80 kilograms of cocaine, reportedly hid the drug in buckets of mortar-like liquid.
When the trial commenced, the police officer stated that, based on his experience, he deduced that the cocaine was not only placed in the mortar for visual concealment, but also to disguise the scent of the drug from sniffer dogs.
He noted that canines can still smell the drug.
The police officer further told the court that he conducted an on-site test of the substance that was packaged in ‘blocks’ and it was found to be cocaine.
Laboratory tests were conducted later. However, those results were not detailed in court yesterday.
The police officer, in the meantime, testified that intelligence was received in relation to the illicit narcotic.
He contacted US Virgin Islands authorities, who then intercepted two vessels – Big Ting and Avanti – off the coast of Virgin Gorda.
The four accused men, who reportedly were aboard the vessels, were detained.
The cop testified that, during a subsequent search of Avanti, authorities recovered seven 5-gallon buckets of premixed Sheetrock joint compound, which is a thick, white, mortar-like liquid.
He said the buckets, which were sealed, appeared as though they had not been tampered with.
He could not have been more wrong, the court heard.
The officer testified that, when authorities opened one of the buckets and pushed a stick inside, the stick went ‘inches down’ from the top.
After emptying the bucket, the authorities reportedly recovered five ‘blocks’ containing cocaine.
The other six buckets found on vessel Avanti each contained five blocks of cocaine, the police officer further claimed.
He stated that another nine buckets also containing cocaine were found on vessel Big Ting.
The cop said a total of 80 blocks of cocaine were found – 35 from Avanti and 45 from Big Ting.
In the meantime, the four accused are scheduled to return to court today for continuation of their trial.
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