Trinidadian couple caught in ‘biggest’ Orlando drug bust

by: - July 24, 2013
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Shamila Ram­per­sad

Shamila Ram­per­sad

Two Trinidad and Tobago nationals who are currently investing millions in Trinidad and Tobago were charged in Orange Country, Florida, on July 14, with trafficking some 3,000 pounds (1,360 kg) of marijuana.

According to the Orlando Sentinel newspaper, police found 1,230 pounds (558 kg) of marijuana inside an RV (recreational vehicle) owned by Mukesh and Shamila Ram­per­sad—815 pounds (370 kg) in a storage compartment below the vehicle and roughly 415 pounds (188 kg) inside the bed in the bedroom of the RV.

The Rampersads were two of five people arrested by the Metropolitan Bureau of Investigation in the incident.

Larry Zwieg, director of the Metropolitan Bureau of Investigation, was quoted in an online report by RTT News: “That might be the most I’ve ever seen here in Orlando. We are looking further into the organisation. We are looking further into this couple who were driving the RV.”

Zwieg had told RTT News the marijuana was being trans­ported by a Jamaican drug-trafficking organisation and was to be distributed throughout the state of Florida.

Mukesh Rampersad

Mukesh Rampersad

Rampersad, 51, was accompanied by his wife on the tour bus owned by the couple, valued at US$400,000. They were charged with trafficking in cannabis greater than 2,000 pounds with a firearm and conspiracy to traffic cannabis greater than 2,000 pounds. According to the county records, Rampersad was released the same day on a US$100,300 surety bond while his wife was released on a US$100,150 cash bond.

Rampersad, owner of Prestige Auto Body & Cycle in Florida, is in the midst of a $20 million investment in Edinburgh, Chaguanas.

On October 13, 2011, he was quoted in an article in the Business Guardian as saying he planned to invest in the areas of door manufacturing and automotive customising and should generate over 150 jobs for the corporation over the next two years.

To this end, Rampersad has been constructing a building in Edinburgh.

Chaguanas Mayor Orlando Nagessar yesterday told the Express he was “shocked” by the news.

He said he was first introduced to Ram-persad when the borough was twinned with the city of Lauderhill, Florida.

He described Rampersad as “part of the Trini posse” in Florida, and during the twinning celebrations, Rampersad had taken them on a bus, which he owned, on road trips in the district.

He noted that Rampersad was originally from Freeport and had migrated from Trinidad many years ago but saw an opportunity to invest in T&T again after the twinning ceremony.

Asked whether the Edinburgh project was on track, he confirmed they were now in the process of installing glass windows, so in his estimation, it was on track.

Ambassador of Trinidad and Tobago to the United States Dr Neil Parsan told the Express via e-mail yesterday he has “had no such report sent to the Mission”.

Trinidad Express