Police have been tight-lipped about the Aug. 19 seizure of an airplane carrying suspected cocaine on Anegada, and they have not confirmed or denied online reports that suspects escaped. Pictured above is the island’s runway. (File photo: FREEMAN ROGERS)

After seizing an airplane carrying a “significant amount” of suspected cocaine on Aug. 19 on Anegada, police released a three-sentence statement about the incident.

Then they went quiet.

The Aug. 19 statement, which Police Information Officer Akia Thomas released at 10 p.m., said the seizure came during a joint operation with United States authorities.

But it provided no other details except to say that investigations were “active and therefore no other information is available at this time.”

On Aug. 22, Ms. 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.

Unanswered questions

Many other questions have been left unanswered.

Police, for instance, didn’t say which US authorities were involved in the operation. They didn’t state the time of the seizure. They didn’t disclose the quantity of drugs seized, or the number of suspects involved. They didn’t describe the airplane or say where it came from.

They didn’t explain how an airplane carrying cocaine could have been permitted to reach Anegada in the first place.

They didn’t even address online reports that suspects had escaped — leaving residents in the dark about whether dangerous criminals could be on the loose on the sparsely populated island.

No response

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 Saturday incident.

Instead, he suggested contacting US Customs and Border Patrol, which didn’t respond to a message.

Tight-lipped police

For the Royal VI Police Force, such silence has become commonplace in recent months.

Though police frequently urge the public to provide them with information about guns, drugs and other criminal activity in the territory, they themselves have grown increasingly tight-lipped amid a rash of major drug and gun crime.

Even when serious crimes are committed, they rarely provide more than four or five sentences of relevant information.

Short press releases

Typically, this information comes in short press releases or WhatsApp messages that often do not identify the precise locations of the crimes or include descriptions of the suspects or other related details.

And police rarely follow up unprompted with additional information.