In­ves­ti­ga­tors see hur­dles in probe of rice drug bust

Stabroek News - - NEWS -

Ranks prob­ing the dis­cov­ery on Satur­day of a large amount of sus­pected co­caine in a ship­ment of rice des­tined for Bel­gium have hit a hur­dle with the in­ves­ti­ga­tions and might be un­able to build a vi­able case.

A source told Stabroek News yes­ter­day that the ranks in­ves­ti­gat­ing the case are presently only work­ing with the “bits and pieces” of in­for­ma­tion they have gath­ered thus far and there are dif­fi­cul­ties in link­ing them.

Cus­toms Anti-Nar­cotic Unit (CANU) ranks and CCP (Con­tainer Con­trol Pro­gramme) op­er­a­tives on Satur­day un­earthed over 67 kg of sus­pected co­caine in a con­tainer at the John Fer­nan­des Lim­ited Wharf, Water Street.

The agency in a state­ment is­sued yes­ter­day said that the nar­cotics were found con­cealed ran­domly in sealed 45 kg bags of rice in­tended for Bel­gium. “The raid com­menced since Fri­day, 27th Oc­to­ber and the (find) was un­cov­ered the fol­low­ing day, Satur­day 28th Oc­to­ber, 2017 just be­fore lunch”, the state­ment said.

Dur­ing the ex­er­cise, CANU said five 20ft con­tain­ers that were filled with rice were un­loaded and searched. The con­tain­ers were sched­uled to leave Guyana last Fri­day evening.

A bro­ker re­spon­si­ble for the ship­ment was taken into cus­tody. How­ever, while he re­mained in cus­tody up to yes­ter­day af­ter­noon, Stabroek News was told that it is un­likely that he will be charged.

In a pho­to­graph seen by this news­pa­per, the pro­ducer of the rice was listed as Golden Grains In­vest­ments of Lot 11 Barr Street, Kitty.

How­ever, when this news­pa­per vis­ited the ad­dress yes­ter­day, the prop­erty con­sisted of two houses, both of which were tightly se­cured. Res­i­dents in the area were un­aware of Golden Grains In­vest­ments.

The own­ers of the ship­ment have since gone into hid­ing, a source said. The po­lice are also con­sid­er­ing whether there was col­lu­sion be­tween the ship­pers and per­sons em­ployed by var­i­ous state-re­lated agen­cies.

Sources told Stabroek News that from all in­di­ca­tions the drugs were placed in the bags af­ter the ship­ment went through rou­tine checks. “It is sus­pected that per­sons of in­ter­est went into the com­pound and loaded the (sus­pected co­caine) in al­ready searched bags”, the source said.

Sev­eral months ago, there was a sim­i­lar bust and to date no charges have been laid. When asked if the busts might be linked, the source said that this has not yet been es­tab­lished.

The sus­pected co­caine af­ter it was re­trieved. The ship­ment was des­tined for Bel­gium.

One of the parcels of sus­pected co­caine found hid­den in one of the rice bags.

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