STATEMENT BY POLICE COMMISSIONER MICHAEL MATTHEWS
REGARDING THE RECENT DRUGS SEIZURE
Good day Ladies and Gentlemen.
During the evening of Friday 6th November, 2020 the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force (RVIPF) conducted a covert operation and executed a search warrant at a property in Balsam Ghut.
Upon arrival, persons were seen fleeing the premises and efforts made to detain those individuals were unsuccessful. A further search of the premises uncovered a large quantity of illegal drugs. A total of 2,353 kilos of Cocaine to be exact, found in a container unit, a 3-yard truck and Ford Explorer jeep on the property. This seizure has a conservative estimated ‘street value’ of some $250,000,000. It is the largest seizure ever made in the BVI and the largest single seizure in the history of the RVIPF. It is also potentially one of the largest ever seized by a UK force. In addition, two illegal firearms were retrieved from the scene.
Officers subsequently conducted a search for those suspected to be in possession of or who had interest in these illegal drugs. So far two persons have been arrested and investigations continue, and may lead to more arrests.
I confirm that one of those arrested was at the time a serving police officer in the RVIPF. Both individuals have with the agreement of the DPP, been charged with the offences of possession of a controlled drug with intent to supply, and possession of illegal firearms. I do owe the public a level of transparency and openness as we respond to this difficult situation and can further advise that the persons charged so far are Liston Davis aged 40 years residing on Tortola and Darren Davis, age 41 years also residing on Tortola and a serving police officer. Darren Davis has been serving with the RVIPF for just over 20 years.
Most if not all serving Commissioners worldwide will understand it when I say that as dreadful as some of the reports are that pass over our desk, the one which will keep me up at night is the one that informs me that any officer under my command is facing allegations of participating in criminal activity. For the Force, it is a violation of something much deeper and more unsettling than just the act itself and I know most, if not all, of us are feeling its effects. That said I remind everyone here today that a person is innocent until proven guilty. It is now a matter for our courts to determine in this regard.
I am also very aware of the many officers who, because they are in active pursuit of the criminal element here in the Territory, were able to effectively carry out this operation with confidentiality and integrity, removing this massive haul from the streets and arresting suspects. This is a clear indication that there is complete impartiality, and no favoritism. For the vast majority of law enforcement here in the BVI, the mandate is clear. Those that participate in illegal activity will be brought to justice.
Cases such as these involving serious allegations against officers of the Force may require outside help to conduct an independent and thorough investigation. We are already in contact with both UK and US law enforcement in this regard but for operational reasons I cannot comment any further on that aspect.
I will now turn it over to the Governor to continue this discussion.