By Ivan Cairo
PARAMARIBO, Suriname — Law enforcement officials in Suriname have disclosed that over the past several days a large number of illegal Guyanese nationals were deported to Guyana. Also at least four were detained for various offences ranging from drug trafficking to violation of the Foreign Currency Act.
‘Operation Koetai’, a wide-scale security operation, netted 65 Guyanese nationals who entered the country illegally, police spokesman, under-inspector Humphrey Naarden, said.
The police officer noted that while most of the illegal immigrants could show valid identification and travel documents they didn’t enter the country at an official point of entry.
The joint operation by army and police is aimed at curbing criminal activities and illegal immigration in the western districts of Suriname. Most deportees were held at a checkpoint in Burnside in the Coronie district while traveling from the border town Nieuw-Nickerie en route to the capital Paramaribo.
In one incident, two Guyanese were arrested in a boat on the Corentyne River with a large quantity of goods that they appeared to be attempting to smuggle to Suriname.
During another raid one Guyanese man, a Brazilian woman and two Chinese men were arrested on the same river. According to the police spokesman, the Brazilian woman and the Chinese were trying to cross the border illegally. A peculiarity is that the Chinese men were in possession of two brand new Surinamese passports, which during the investigation proved to be false.
“These cases have been handed over to the Fraud Squad,” said Naarden.
On Tuesday, police arrested a 25-year old Guyanese man who entered the country legally at the South Drain ferry crossing, but failed to report a large sum of foreign currency with the immigration authorities.
The suspect was accompanied by a 21-year old Surinamese woman. In their possession they had US$35,000 and $326,000 in local currency.
Both have been detained and charged with violation of the Foreign Currency Act.
In two separate cases, two Guyanese men, one of whom claimed to be a preacher, were arrested for drug trafficking. They respectively had one kilogram and one pound of marijuana in their possession. While being searched by police officers, the alleged preacher dashed into the mangrove woods alongside the road, but with assistance of public spirited citizens this suspect was arrested and detained by police several hours later.
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