TTPS seeks forfeiture of over $2.5M in seized currency

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TTPS seeks forfeiture of over $2.5M in seized currency

Forfeiture proceedings commenced against three suspects after Director of Public Prosecutions Roger Gaspard SC, concluded that there was sufficient evidence to proceed, under the provisions of the Proceeds of Crime Act.

According to police reports, on 9th and 11th June, 2021, a joint operation was conducted by members of the Financial Investigations Branch (FIB) and the Customs and Excise Division, where the officers searched the premises of VARUNE ARJOON, SHELLY ANN RAMLOCHAN and VEDESH MAHARAJ at Ghandi Village, Debe. During the searches a large quantity of cash totalling $2,146,103 TT currency, $58,194 US currency, $1,265 Canadian currency and $245 EC currency was found, along with a large quantity of uncustomed alcohol and a quantity of pepper spray (47 cans) at various locations within the house. A Taser and two firearms with 28 rounds of nine-millimetre ammunition were also found in a vehicle with a quantity of the cash.

Shelly Ann Ramlochan was charged with Possession of Firearms for the Purpose of Trafficking, Possession of Ammunition and Possession of a Prohibited Weapon (Taser) on 13th June, 2021 by PC Woodley of the FIB.

Vedesh Maharaj was charged with Possession of Prohibited Weapons for the Purpose of Trafficking in relation to the pepper spray on 13th June, 2021 by PC Woodley of the FIB.

Varune Arjoon was charged with offences relating to the uncustomed goods (alcohol) by Customs Officer Jermaine Roberts in June 2021.

The total sum of cash was subsequently seized and detained in keeping with the provision of Section 38 of the Proceeds of Crime Act Chapter 11:27. Further to the charges being laid, a financial investigation was subsequently conducted in relation to the cash seized.

The file was submitted to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution, where the DPP found sufficient evidence to commence forfeiture proceedings against the aforementioned suspects in relation to the total sum of cash seized. Two forfeiture applications were filed on 9th and 14th June, 2023 respectively representing the total sum. The matter is currently before the San Fernando Magistrates’ Court.

The financial investigation was conducted by Sgt Samuel of the FIB and overseen by ACP Wendell Lucas of the White Collar Crime Division.