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In light of the recent discovery of $17 million worth of cocaine at the Demerara Shipping Wharf, Head of the Customs Anti-Narcotics Unit (CANU), James Singh has related that the drug enforcement body is working with Demerara Distillers Limited (DDL) to strengthen its security system. CANU Head James Singh
This is the second drug-related bust at the city port in several months. In November last, authorities in The Netherlands discovered over 1100lbs of cocaine in a rum shipment that departed the same port. The cargo belonged to DDL and the company contended that the shipment was not contaminated here. The cocaine found in a container at the city wharf on Saturday
The CANU Head told Guyana Times that while port facilities were privately owned, they must be compliant with the International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code – a set of measures to enhance the security of ships and port facilities.
He added that making sure goods were not contaminated with illegal substances was part of the security management of these facilities and it was their responsibility to ensure that was done.
Further, he added that the Maritime Administrative Department (MARAD); the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) and CANU were always available to support and bring an end to the drug trade.
“In that case, law enforcement would not have to come into your yard and discover narcotics…that is why there is security, their job is to protect the facility and to check every person, every bag, every vehicle entering and leaving the compound,” James explained.
“You are either working with us or against us,” he added.
On Saturday, ranks of CANU discovered several parcels of cocaine at the Demerara Shipping Limited Wharf on Lombard Street, Georgetown.
It was reported that CANU officers, acting on intelligence, conducted an operation at the wharf during which they discovered a bag containing 21 parcels of suspected cocaine inside a container.
The suspected narcotic was transported to CANU headquarters, where it was tested and confirmed to be cocaine. It weighed a total of 24.63 kilograms or 54.29 pounds. According to CANU, the cocaine has a street value of approximately $17 million.
“However, the fact that it was discovered on the wharf indicates that it was intended for transshipment to another overseas territory which would have increased its street value,” the Anti-Narcotics Agency explained.
Back in January of this year, CANU officers had discovered 16.046kg (36 lbs) of marijuana, worth $14 million, on a vessel docked at the Guyana National Industrial Company Incorporated (GNIC) Wharf, Lombard Street, Georgetown.
A CANU operation at the GNIC Wharf saw officers from the Special Operations section conducting a search on the vessel that was scheduled to leave Port Georgetown on the morning of January 19 with a quantity of cement.
However, the narcotic was discovered on the foreign-registered vessel that had a crew of 19 foreign nationals.
Three persons were charged in relation to that discovery.
A national of the Dominican Republic, Fredy Diaz Cabrera was jailed for four years and six months as well as fined $14 million after he pleaded guilty to the trafficking charge. The two other persons – the mother of Cabrera’s child, Epiphany McLennan called “Tiffany” of B Field, Sophia, Greater Georgetown, and Eustace Rodrigues, called “Fine Man” of Albouystown, Georgetown, were remanded after pleading not guilty to the same charge.