Mark Bassant

Ralphie Roper, who has been described as T&T’s most wanted man and had been on the run for almost 15 years, was shot and killed by police in Maraval early this morning.

Sources told Guardian Media Roper was asleep in a camp in a forested area of Cameron Hill just after 4 am when police, acting on a tip-off, descended on the camp. It is alleged that Roper shot at the police who returned fire fatally wounding him.

Roper had several outstanding warrants and firearm-related offences pending before the court. In an interview with this journalist two years ago he claimed he had information on several crooked police officers in the Western Division and that several of them were on his payroll.

A senior officer said although Roper was wanted for several crimes, he had secrets about many police officers in the Western Division. There were allegations made by Roper about several police officers running competing drug blocks in the area. A high-ranking police officer confirmed to Guardian Media that these allegations had some merit and officers were being investigated.

Several attempts had been made over the last two years to capture Roper who remained elusive. He often hid in the forested hills of Cameron and “knew the area like the back of this hand,” a resident who grew up with Roper said.

In the past, law enforcement agencies had tried to capture Roper in this area, but on every occasion, he evaded them.

In January 2020, officers from the Western Division went to the Cameron area in Maraval to capture Roper after receiving a tip-off but a shootout ensued in which one man was shot and killed. Roper escaped. Several months ago, he was shot in the arm during an armed confrontation with the police.

He managed to escape then but on Wednesday morning his long run from the police ended.