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Police confused over which cop may have helped drug smugglers

Two Crooked Island police officers appear to be implicating each other in a $25 million cocaine bust involving two Venezuelan drug smugglers, who landed their plane at Colonel Hill Airport in the dead of night on December 22.

One officer claimed that he went to the airport to investigate after hearing a low-flying aircraft in the vicinity of the airport just before midnight. He told investigators he discovered a dark color aircraft at the airport and two Caucasian males with night vision goggles who ran into nearby bushes. He said he inspected the plane and found taped packages of cocaine.

A short time later, a junior police officer arrived at the airport in his private vehicle and was asked by the first officer to assist him with the drug bust. However, the junior officer seemed reluctant. When questioned by investigators about his apparent reluctance, the junior officer said it was because he noted the runway lights were on and he saw the senior officer holding the remote for the runway lights in his hand. He said he tried to drive onto the runway but the senior officer blocked him and instructed him to drive to the police station to pick up a police vehicle and await an update.

The junior officer says the senior officer drove behind him and attempted to pull his vehicle over but he kept going because he was not comfortable with his instructions.

After seeking further instructions from police on New Providence, the junior officer picked up all available police officers on Crooked Island and returned to the airport to offload the dangerous drugs from the aircraft and arrest the two Venezuelan men.

The suspects, Luis Andres Benavides Perez and Jaime Digiacomb, told the magistrate, during their arraignment, that the plan was for the "chief of police" on the island to take the drugs from them and help them to leave the island by boat. However, no police officers have been charged in connection with the crime as investigators are still trying to determine whether the convicted drug smugglers are telling the truth and if they are pointing the finger at the right officer.

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