Octogenarian arrested in weapons investigation

POSTED: 03/21/16 7:26 PM

St. Maarten News – An 81-year-old man identified as V.R., the 55-year-old woman I.F. and the 23-year old man R.R. are in custody since last Wednesday as suspects in the Efeze-investigation into international firearms and drugs trafficking and money laundering. On Friday, the Judge of Instruction gave the nod of approval to hold the three for eight days.

The name if the investigation seems well-chosen: Efeze was in antiquity a large Ionic port and commercial center on the west coast of Asia Minor in what is now the province of Izmir in Turkey.

The Public Prosecutor of St. Maarten, officers of the Detective Collaboration Team (RST) and the Judge of Instruction carried out house searches on Wednesday in Dutch Quarter and on the French side on Wednesday with the assistance of the police and the French gendarmerie. At the same time, prison staff carried out a cell search in Pointe Blanche. The Customs Department also joined the action with two additional inspections last week.

All these actions are linked to a long-running investigation by the RST, led by the prosecutor’s office.

During the house searches officers confiscated several firearms and ammunition.

The investigation is a follow up to the Stop Drop & Go campaign dating back to 2014, when citizens had the opportunity to surrender illegal firearms with impunity. After that action, police and prosecutor’s office promised a stern approach towards illegal firearms with additional controls and with higher demands for violations in court.

Another aspect of this approach is the effort to prevent illegal firearms from entering the country altogether. The investigation continues and the prosecutor’s office does not exclude more arrests.

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