Debe vendor fined for ganja, quizzed over $1m in cash

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

File photo –

A market vendor from Debe, in whose home the police allegedly found over $1 million on Wednesday, faced a Siparia magistrate charged with having marijuana.

On Friday, Elie John pleaded guilty to having 361 grammes of compressed marijuana. Magistrate Brian Dabideen fined him $3,500 with four months to pay or, in default, he will serve 12 months in jail with hard labour.

PC Sahadeo of the South Western Division Gang Unit laid the charge.

John was arrested after police searched his home on Wednesday around 12.15 am and found marijuana in two jars on a table in the living room, as well as $1,055,100 in garbage bags under a bed. The cash was mainly in $100 notes.

Police investigators seized the money and the marijuana, and arrested John and a female relative. She was released without charge.

Neither could give a satisfactory account of how they got the money.

The police had gone to the house with a warrant to search for guns and ammunition. Snr Supt Remy, Supt Cumberbatch, and ASP Nanan and Mathura co-ordinated the exercise, which Insp Prescott and Sgts Boodlal and Rollocks supervised.

It also included members of the South Western Division Task Force and Gang Unit, and Siparia CID. Sgt Brisbane, PC Harris and WPC Rangoo of the Financial Investigations Branch (FIB) also assisted.

Investigations into the cash are ongoing. If the two can provide a legitimate reason for having it, the cash will be returned to them. However, if the two cannot say how they amassed the money, the state can keep it.