In what is being touted as the largest seizure in history, authorities have raided the home of a Virgin Island police officer and discovered $250 million worth of cocaine. The raid resulted in the seizure of 2.3 tons of the white powdery substance.
Illustrating the sheer size of the bust, the amount of cocaine is equivalent in US dollars, to 75 percent of the entire department's annual budget. According to police, the raid was carried out in the early morning hours on Friday, November 6. When police arrived, several people escaped but the home owner, Darren Davis, 41, who has been a Virgin Island cop for over 20 years, was arrested on the spot.
Davis' brother, Liston Davis, 40, was also arrested. They have both been charged with three counts of possession of a controlled substance with intent to supply and keeping an unlicensed firearm, Police Commissioner Michael Matthews said.
In a likely attempt to avoid embarrassing the police department, during the press conference this week, the commissioner and the governor, Gus Jaspert, failed to mention that the home belonged to a cop where the massive amount of cocaine was found. However, that information was leaked to The Sun tabloid and they reported it to the public.
"The value of the seizure equates to around 75 percent of our entire national budget in the BVI. It is also one of the largest seizures in the history of any British Overseas Territory or the UK," said Gov. Jaspert. "I share these figures as an illustration of just how large this seizure is. The Police conducted exceptional and high risk work to enable such a significant seizure. Its size indicates that drug smuggling can potentially have debilitating and deteriorating effects on our territory, and the level of safety and good governance we expect and deserve."
Police would not tell the public how they found out about the massive cocaine shipment nor would they say exactly how many people were able to escape during the raid. However, the governor said that a cocaine bust of this magnitude indicates that there is likely a lot of drug trafficking going on in the area.
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“A seizure of this scale, especially combined with other seizures made in recent months, [indicates] serious and organised criminality here in the British Virgin Islands,” Jaspert said, adding, “There may be pockets of corruption facilitating this kind of criminal activity.”
Naturally, after the information was leaked that the bust involved a 20-year veteran of the police department, Gov. Jaspert reassured the public that the force is "mostly composed of honest people doing good work, and not to lose their faith in the force’s ability to keep the territory safe."
However, Jaspert did make a telling and extremely rare admission that their lax policies for officers may have led to the corruption within the ranks.
“We have not done enough … to ensure that no kind of corruption can take place,” Jaspert said, adding, “We urgently need … an Integrity Commission, a modernised Police Act, an Unexplained Wealth Order,” and other laws.
While police and government will use this massive cocaine bust to crack down on the public and make tougher laws, in reality, what it highlights is the failure of the war on drugs. When cops — the ones who claim to be fighting the war on drugs — are caught with the largest amount of cocaine in BVI's history, it's time to admit that the war on drugs is not working.
Luckily, states like Oregon are leading the charge in bringing it to an end. Hopefully, other states and countries will soon follow suit.