The Royal Virgin Islands Police Force seized at least 11,000 kilograms of cocaine from January through November of last year, along with at least 68 firearms and 2,064 rounds of ammunition, according to Police Commissioner Mark Collins.
The information was included in a presentation Mr. Collins gave the House of Assembly’s Standing Finance Committee in early December, according to a report on the body’s closed-door deliberations.
Describing 2022 as a “busy year” for police, the commissioner noted that crime has “slightly increased” in the areas of sexual offences, domestic violence and drug-related matters, but decreased for burglaries, robberies and overall serious offences, according to the report, which did not include statistics.
Domestic violence is the most reported crime in the territory, he stated, noting that police and “partner agencies” have established a forum to help address the issue.
He also provided a brief update on murder investigations. “During 2022, there were six homicide cases dealt with by the Major Crime Team, with one successfully concluded and significant progress with the outstanding cases,” the SFC report states in a summary of his presentation.
Two people were charged with murder last year, one of whom was connected to 36 firearms, the commissioner stated. Additionally, he said, the force’s Professional Standard Department dealt with 51 complaints, with 13 to be resolved.
Mr. Collins also provided an update on police actions taken following the release of the Commission of Inquiry report on April 29, the day after the Florida arrests of then-Premier Andrew Fahie and then-BVI Ports Authority Managing Director Oleanvine Maynard for an alleged scheme to allow cocaine to be smuggled through VI waters on the way to the United States.
After the publication of the COI report, Mr. Collins said, a “Headquarters Investigation Team” was established as a “standalone unit” that “reports directly on a weekly basis,” the SFC report states.
It adds, “As part of the COI recommendations, the RVIPF assumed a security lead responsible for all ports and airports in the territory effective July 1, 2022, which led to the deployment of 10 additional police officers.
Due to security risk, officers were also deployed to [His Majesty’s] Prison.” Mr. Collins also said that officers were added to the Marine Unit, though the SFC report doesn’t state how many. Additionally, he noted, launches will be based soon in Jost Van Dyke and in Virgin Gorda.