Man arrested after police swoop down on illegal gas distribution site in Portmore

One man has been taken into police custody after police swooped down on an illegal cooking gas distribution site in Portmore, St. Catherine on Friday (June 11).

Reports are that ddetectives from the Counter-Terrorism and Organized Crime Investigations Branch (CTOC) raided the site at about 11:30 a.m. where they observed two gas tankers along with a fully retrofitted space for refilling cooking gas cylinders.

According to CTOC detectives, the space was also fitted with pressure gauges, high-end scales and fire safety equipment.

Despite the sophistication of the gas distribution site, assistant Superintendent Victor Barrett and head of CTOC’s Intellectual Property Unit noted that preliminary checks indicated that no permits had been obtained for the operation.

Barrett explained that cooking gas refilling operations must be licensed by the National Environmental Planning Agency (NEPA), once the capacity of the facility exceeds 18,000 litres.

He further shared that one of the tankers seized held approximately 50,000 litres.

Not only must such operations be licensed by NEPA, but other requirements such as the permits from the relevant municipal authority and fire department, as well as, the established companies giving permission for their cooking gas cylinders to be distributed or refilled by another company are necessary.

Failing to provide the requisite permits, police say the two tankers, in addition to several gas cylinders were seized and the operation shut down.

Detectives also seized branded seals of at least two major gas distribution companies.

ASP Barrett said his team would be deepening their investigation in the coming weeks, as they seek to uncover the source of the gas being distributed and any other breaches that may have occurred.