Commissioner of Police [of Antigua and Barbuda] Atlee Rodney has been speaking about the entry of illegal firearms into the country revealing that the components are usually disassembled.
“Well, they are coming from overseas. We know that. We have intercepted quite a few firearms and ammunition. Last year, we had a large quantity, around 600 rounds of ammunition, in a single operation at the port.
For this year, we have already recovered close to 15 firearms, some at the port and others through intelligence efforts.
Recently, there have been discussions about limited communication regarding success in intercepting these weapons. It seems that sometimes the weapons arrive incomplete, intentionally limited in parts.
The Commissioner said this approach may be a way to evade detection. “Instead of finding fully assembled pistols, we often come across individual components such as barrels or trigger guards.
“However, these fragmented firearms are later assembled by those involved in the smuggling process, indicating their creativity in avoiding scrutiny.
“We are actively working on addressing this issue at the local level, but there are also regional efforts underway through the CARICOM IMPACS Intelligence Unit. The primary objective of this unit is to collect and analyse all relevant data”.
Rodney said, “By sharing information about a firearm recovered in Antigua, we can trace its journey from the manufacturer to our territory”.
“This system is supported by the U.S. government, with assistance from the ATF leading the charge alongside Interpol’s tracing system.
“It is worth noting that the majority of the weapons we encounter come from North America, rather than Brazil or South America. While this is a concern, it aligns with the trends observed in other countries across the region,” the Commissioner said.
“Homicide rates, as presented in the Bahamas, Jamaica, and Trinidad, indicate that nearly 90% of violent crimes, especially homicides, involve firearms. This highlights the urgency to address this issue collaboratively.
“This update provides insight into the ongoing efforts to combat firearm smuggling in Antigua.” (Antigua Newsroom)