The Trinidad and Tobago Police Service has seized over 150 million in illegal guns and ammunition in the past ten years. In 2023 alone the TTPS has made several significant illegal gun seizures including three in the months of October and November alone.
In 2023, 322 pistols and 99 revolvers were recovered by the TTPS compared to 396 pistols and 117 revolvers in 2022, and these include AR-15s, M16s, mini Uzis, 50 caliber rifles, and 12-gauge shotguns.
Between 2014 and 2023, the largest number of illegal weapons seized was 1064 in 2017, with 988 in 2018, 888 in 2019, and 755 in 2020. The total for the period 2014 to 2023 so far is 7446 illegal weapons. Some experts believe this is just the tip of the iceberg in illegal guns available in the country.
Experts price the value of the more sophisticated weapons like a Glock starting at $3,000 and can go up to $12,000 or more depending on who you get it from and how it is sourced.
Then there are various models of automatic rifles including the Avtomat Kalashnikova (AK) and ArmaLite (AR)-15s. The weapons can be rented for less money depending on the model, much cheaper than even a legal gun is sold for. Rifles can go from $30,000.
The illegal gun trade is a multi-million dollar, cash-based business, and according to sources, the demand is high and increasing as the country’s crime situation deteriorates.
Revolvers such as Smith & Wesson, Rugers, Colts, and .357 Magnums are the second gun of choice accounting for 22.6 percent of 1,663 recovered firearms for the same period.
Shotguns accounted for nine percent of all recoveries, while homemade shotguns and pistols both represented a little more than five percent each.
TTPS/Strategic Services Agency tracks illegal weapons and said the cost of a gun on the black market varies greatly, depending on the source.
Some Pistols cost between $18,000 to $21,000 while a Shotgun goes for $11,000 to $15,000 and a Rifle–$30,000 to $40,000. Automatic weapons including a machine gun or sub-machine gun can cost between $35,000 to $40,000, with criminals paying between $40,000 to $52,000 for the more sophisticated and dangerous AR-15 or AK-47.
While the TTPS is making significant inroads in discovering and seizing illegal weapons, no one has been arrested in connection with these finds and seizures.