Henson: “Between 20 to 25 illegal firearms seized in last six weeks”POSTED: 09/30/14 10:50 PM
St. Maarten —Between 20 and 25 illegal firearms have been taken off the streets by the police in the last six weeks, including one confiscated on the boardwalk on Sunday night, according to police spokesman inspector Ricardo Henson.
Henson explained that because of what was perceived by police to be a high number of violent crimes involving firearms, the police made the decision six weeks ago to crack down on these illegal guns and began staging controls specifically geared at taking illegal fire arms off the streets.
“We began staging these controls and we are living up to it. We are not taking our eyes off everything else, but we have been mainly focusing on getting the guns off the streets. Several persons have been arrested because of these controls including some for whom warrants had been issued for their arrest but who had previously eluded police controls,” Henson explained.
He noted that with the recent agreement entered into with the French side police to tackle illegal guns, he expects that even more success will be had in this area. These dual controls are carded to begin on Wednesday and Inspector Henson noted that persons will be given a two weeks grace period to turn in their illegal guns without fear of prosecution and he urges persons in possession of such weapons to make use of the grace period.
“After that, we will be coming to your homes, to your office or wherever we are told there is an illegal firearm. Once we receive information that someone may be in possession of an illegal firearm we will come and find that firearm and that person will be arrested and prosecuted,” the police spokesman said. He said that at times the police are told about these illegal firearms “by law abiding citizens” but that in many cases where the guns are found through the police controls.
“On Sunday September 28th at approximately 12.40 am a Philipsburg Police Patrol was sent to Lizzy’s Bar on the Board Walk where the music was playing too loud. On the scene the investigating officers noticed that two men who at the time were standing in a group of men were behaving quite suspicious and passing an unknown item to each other. The officers approached these two men when suddenly a gun fell to the floor. Both suspects with the initials Z.M.J. (32) and A.O.M. (25) were arrested on the spot for illegal gun possession. The 2.25 caliber pistol was confiscated for further investigation. The suspects were taken to the Philipsburg Police Station, where they remain in custody for questioning,” Henson explained.
He urges the general public to be civic minded and to inform the police of any criminal activity that they may be aware of.