Operation Trust back, sweeping Dutch side

Police’s revived Operation Trust 2 swept Dutch St. Maarten for a second straight day Tuesday as officers stopped dozens of motorists in Cole Bay.

The vacant lot in front of Caribbean Cinemas Megaplex 7 theatres was packed with cars halted yesterday afternoon for excessive tint or not having proper inspection documents.

St. Maarten and Curaçao police, Voluntary Corps of St. Maarten VKS and Customs officers pulled over at least an estimated 100 vehicles and fined several people for traffic violations. A driver was almost fined twice: first for excessive tint, then for driving away without a seatbelt on. Police stopped him a second time and ordered him and his passengers to wear their seatbelts.  

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Police arrested least two undocumented residents on Tuesday.

In the first day of Operation Trust’s return on Monday, police arrested 12 persons for various infractions and fined 121 motorists during nearly six hours of controls in Sucker Garden, Philipsburg and the Maho-Mullet Bay basin, according to figures released by police on Tuesday.

Complete totals for controls held on Tuesday were unavailable up to press time last night.

Police searched 43 persons on Monday and ordered that tow trucks remove 39 cars and SUVs, five scooters, one all-terrain vehicle (ATV) and one motorcycle. They also confiscated a knife after a search, and then took away 19 pellets from a p44 air pistol and 46 bullets for a .38 Special revolver in a house search in Philipsburg (see related story).

Operation Trust started in December 2006 as the police’s answer to the statistically higher crime rate St. Maarten experiences in and around the holiday season. Utilising the then-newly-formed Zero Tolerance Team of officers, Trust combed streets and arrested several residents in its first few weeks. Businesses blamed Trust at the time for scaring away business.

Police said Operation Trust 2, which ended in February last year, would "continue until further notice," adding that residents should "expect more of operation Trust 2 during St. Maarten Carnival festivities."