Kamla wants Probe after 2 Men Fined $10K for $3M Worth of Weed

Spread the love

Caption: Marijuana camp that was destroyed by police. Photo: TTPS

By Prior Beharry

OPPOSITION Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar is calling for a probe after two men were fined $10,000 for cultivating marijuana with a street value of more that $3 million.

In a release on Thursday, she said, “The Director of Public Prosecutions, the Chief Justice, and the Judicial and Legal Services Commission must immediately undertake separate independent investigations into the scandalously light fine of $10,000. Any fine to be imposed should have at least been proportionate to the $3.2 million dollar value of the marijuana. This sentence must be appealed.”


A release by the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS), issued on Thursday, stated that two men who were caught red-handedly cultivating marijuana and having a rifle and rounds of ammunition in Tamana last week were on Monday fined $10,000 by a Master of the High Court at Sangre Grande. 

Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar

It stated that Saleem Villaruel, 21, of Guaico, Tamana Road, and Azizi Williams, 42, of Robinson Trace, Damarie Hill, Sangre Grande, both unemployed, pleaded guilty to the offences of cultivating in cannabis, possession of a prohibited weapon and possession of ammunition were given the fines by Master Sarah De Silva.

The marijuana had an estimated street value of $3,283,203 and was described as local hydro grade some of which were cultivated in a greenhouse. Police also discovered and seized a Draco Rifle fitted with a laser and seven rounds of 7.62 ammunition.

Draco Rifle fitted with a laser and seven rounds of 7.62 ammunition seized by EDGIU. Photo: TTPS

They were given three months to pay the fine or will face imprisonment of nine months hard labour on the cultivating in cannabis offence of possession of ammunition offences, respectively, and two years hard labour on the offence of possession of a prohibited weapon.

Persad-Bissessar said, “The penalty is appallingly inappropriate and is counter to the uncontested evidence in the midst of a national campaign against violent lawlessness. The accused men pleaded guilty to the offence of possessing cannabis, and possession of a prohibited weapon and ammunition.

“They were cultivating more than 1,000 fully-grown marijuana trees and had an estimated 1,000 seedlings on four acres of land, the total value of which was estimated at $3.2 million. 


“The high-powered rifle may have been used in shootings or murders, was a ballistic report considered in the course of sentencing?

“The Master of the High Court must be called upon by the relevant authorities to properly account for this extremely lenient sentence. This light fine is an insult to the hardworking police officers who trekked 12 kilometres into the forest to apprehend these criminals as well as to a population besieged by violent crime fueled by illegal drug trafficking.

“The investigating police officers and the relevant prosecutor must be commended for diligently undertaking their professional duties.”

Villaruel and Williams were arrested on February 8 and jointly charged on February 13 by PC Singh of the Eastern Division Gang and Intelligence Unit (EDGIU) following a surveillance exercise at a campsite 12 kilometres into a forested area of Romain Trace, Guaico, Tamana.

During the exercise, EDGIU and Multi-Operational Police Section officers observed two men tending to a marijuana field with approximately 1,024 full-grown marijuana trees and an estimated 1,000 seedlings on about four acres of land.



Support journalism. AZP News is an independent news organisation that is not affiliated with any big business and depends solely on advertising to pay our bills. Therefore, we are asking for the generosity of our readers to help us with small donations of any amount, but we will be happy with $20, $50 or US$100. Click Here to Donate


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *