Police on Wednesday morning arrested a Lowmans Hill man and a woman in connection with a submachine gun and other firearms and ammunition seized in a raid in the West Kingstown community.
The name of the suspects have not been released pending charges against them, but iWitness News was reliably informed that the man is around 34 years old and the woman is a 22-year-old who was reprimanded and discharged last year after pleading guilty to an assault charge.
Commissioner of Police Renold Hadaway told a press conference Wednesday afternoon they are on the hunt for an Ak-47 assault rifle as they recovered one round of ammunition and a magazine for that firearm.
“What it tells us, certainly, is that we would want to conclude logically that there is at least an AK-47 out there because it cannot operate with the magazine or the round being in the magazine. There must be a weapon to discharge that,” he said.
Hadaway detailed the guns and ammunition found, saying: “What we have recovered this morning, one submachine gun, one Glock , one .38 revolver and one round of AK ammunition, 14 rounds of Glock 40 ammunition and 45 rounds of 9mm ammunition, as well as two ski masks.
He said all of the weapons appear to be functioning.
The police chief also expressed concern about the presence of ski mask in SVG.
“These masks are an issue of concern to us. All law enforcement authorities in St. Vincent and the Grenadines are aware of the implications and once they are discovered, action will be taken to removed them from wherever they are,” Hadaway said.
He said ski masks are confiscated also by the Customs Department.
Hadaway, who is a weapons specialist, said the sub-machine gun, commonly referred to as an SMG, is the deadliest of the weapons that the police seized during Wednesday’s raid.
“It is an automatic weapon… This weapon operates from what is known as an open bolt position. That is to say, as it is now, if you squeeze the trigger, nothing will happen even tough there is magazine inside of the weapon,” said Hadaway as he held the unloaded firearm.
“In order to activate it, the bolt must be to the rear like that. Once you squeeze the trigger and the magazine is in and your finger is on the trigger, it takes all the rounds until you release the [trigger].
“So, it tells you that this is a serious weapon that we have recovered off the street. It is really alarming to know that these weapons are in the hands of criminals out there,” he said, adding that the magazine on the gun holds 29-30 rounds of 9mm ammunition.
“Incidentally, we know how porous the borders of St. Vincent and the Grenadines are, and it is believed that some of these things may be making their way through these porous borders.
“But we are making a serious effort to take firearms off the street as much as we possibly can during this year and beyond.”
Also on display on Wednesday was a shotgun that the police chief said was recovered in a raid in the Dorsetshire Hill areas on Jan. 10.
Hadaway noted that of the 40 homicides in St. Vincent and the Grenadines last year, 28 were committed using firearms.
He said 2016 was not a good one for SVG, as far as crime is concerned.
“It was our record year [for homicides] and throughout the year, we [saw] it fit to put measures in place to address the upsurge in criminal activities, particularly gun-related activities.”
The police chief said that 43 illegal firearms were confiscated in 2016.
“It clearly shows that the police [are] committed to addressing the issue of crime and violence, and, more specifically, the issue related to gun-related activities.”
The police chief noted that SVG has not had any homicides so far this year, adding, “We trust and hope that this can take us well into 2017.
“But it is not just that we are sitting and hoping. We are taking action. We have put in place mechanisms, strategies to address the whole issue that caused the nation in 2016 to be in a state of panic, so to speak, of fear — concern for their safety, etc.”
Hadaway said that Wednesday’s gun bust is a result of those measures, which have continued into the new year.
“Unfortunately, we will not be able to disclose the measures that we have in place because, so doing can hamper our progress, our success. And we intend to get to the bottom of the whole issue involving gun-related matters.”
(Watch the entire press conference below.)