The assault rifle found and seized during a police exercise on Thursday September 16th. (Image courtesy TTPS)

A high-powered assault rifle was recovered and seized during a police exercise on Thursday night, in which four priority offenders were targeted in connection with an upsurge of gang related shootings in the Belmont and Laventille areas. 

Guardian Media understands that during the Operation Strike Back 3 exercise, search warrants for arms and ammunition were executed at their respective homes; however, nothing illegal was found.

Police said the exercise led them to the Gonzales Community Centre where a search was conducted in an unfinished concrete portion of the structure.  A loaded AR15 Rifle with a magazine containing 20 rounds of ammunition was found under a sheet of galvanize.  The weapon was wrapped in a red, yellow and green cloth.

No one was arrested.

The exercise was conducted in the Port-of-Spain Division between the hours of 9 pm on Thursday to 3 am on Friday, and was coordinated by ACP Gaffar and Snr Supt Terrance Nobbee, Supt Kisoonlal, Asp Walker, and Ag Insp Rijkumar.  It was supervised by Sgt Alexander, Cpl Modeste and Cpl Huggins, and included PC Bacchus, PC Remy, PC Khamcan, WPC Brown, and other members of the Port of Spain Task Force.