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2003-01-29 17:34:49

Young Women Linked To Drug Proceeds

Those benefiting from proceeds of crime will be brought before the law....

The face of the class of criminals raking in huge sums of money from illicit drug activities is often that of the young Bahamian male, but there is another group linked to these alleged drug dealers that is often in the background, but also the target of increasing anti-drug efforts.

Prime Minister Perry Christie told the Bahama Journal that "young, beautiful women" who come from reputable families are linked to some of the most notorious criminals in the country.

These are the young women within the visual grasp of the Drug Enforcement Agency's international dragnet. They are rarely spoken of in the open, but their movements are tracked by law enforcement officials who have stacks and stacks of files on the women linked to drug traffickers.

The Bahama Journal has learnt that the Drug Enforcement Agency of the United States has presented Mr. Christie with stacks and stacks of files on some of these women, including their photographs.

Although they are not the ones hauled before the courts under the prying gaze of the lenses of local photojournalists, these women are often considered accomplices in drug activity.

It's a delicate situation that concerns the prime minister, so much so that he has sent a stern warning to young women who, because of the love of money, often develop a fatal attraction for drug dealers.

Mr. Christie said he wants local police to find these young ladies and visit their families to warn that such links to crime will not be tolerated. According to Mr. Christie, the DEA has information on some of these women that goes back several years.

Mr. Christie said all Bahamians must be stakeholders in the war on crime and good families must do more to keep their daughters out of the lives of the criminally-minded.
 "Our work will be in vain...unless [the police] have the people of the Bahamas as stakeholders in their fight against crime," Mr. Christie told the Bahama Journal. "We have to educate our people...We now have to start the count among our families who are good families who are prepared to work with law and order and to maintain and preserve and foster it and to identify those who are not prepared. But this is the time now when every man must be counted."

The DEA and local law enforcement officers continue to work together to target drug traffickers through air surveillance, high-speed chases on both land and sea and through more secretive methods.

The women linked to some of the most recent suspects charged before the courts have been questioned in some cases. Mr. Christie said others who continue to benefit from the proceeds of crime need to know that they will face the full brunt of the law as law enforcement officials wage the drug battle, a smaller segment of the overall war on crime.

When police cracked what they said was a major drug smuggling operation last year, they said they had in custody a few women linked to at least one of the suspects in the case. The DEA had reportedly been watching the alleged accomplices for quite some time.

Top police officials said it was a sad situation, but they said the law must not allow the beneficiaries of crime to escape.

Prime Minister Perry Christie has on several occasions made his concerns known regarding young women from "good" families who become caught up in the lure of the extravagant lifestyles made possible by funds collected from illicit drug activity.

By Candia Dames, The Bahama Journal 

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