When police seized a Cessna airplane on Anegada on Aug. 19, they also seized more than 800 kilograms of cocaine, the Police Information Office announced in a Sept. 1 update on the incident.
“Over the past week, several persons of interest have been arrested and interviewed and have since been released,” the update added. “Officers have also executed search warrants on several properties on the island.”
The update — which didn’t provide any other details — was the first time that police had disclosed the quantity of drugs or acknowledged searching homes and making arrests.
Also in the update, acting Police Commissioner St. Clair Amory commended the officers involved in the seizures and thanked members of the public who have assisted in the ongoing investigation.
“As this is an ongoing and sensitive investigation, no further information can be disclosed at this time,” the update added.
Police have been tight-lipped on the incident since it occurred.
That night, they released a three-sentence statement announcing the seizure and explaining that it came during a joint operation with United States authorities.
The statement provided no other details except to say that investigations were “active and therefore no other information is available at this time.”
On Aug. 22, Police Information Officer Akia Thomas sent two more sentences in response to a Beacon query, but her message included only one piece of new information: No arrests had been made at the time.
Now, that has apparently changed.
Meanwhile, other questions have been left unanswered despite the brief Friday update.
Police, for instance, haven’t said which US authorities were involved in the operation.
They haven’t said the time of the seizure.
They haven’t disclosed the number of suspects involved. They haven’t said where the plane came from or explained how an airplane carrying cocaine could have been permitted to reach Anegada in the first place.
They also haven’t addressed online reports that suspects escaped, leaving residents in the dark about whether dangerous criminals could be on the loose.
The Beacon’s other attempts to obtain more information about the incident were similarly unsuccessful.
Staff at the Anegada airport declined to comment, and BVI Airports Authority Managing Director Kurt Menal didn’t respond to messages.
Ricardo Castrodad — the Puerto Rico public affairs officer for the US Coast Guard, which often partners with Virgin Islands agencies in narcotics operations — said the USCG wasn’t involved in the incident.
Instead, he suggested contacting US Customs and Border Patrol, which directed the Beacon back to VI authorities.