CANU records successful year in drug fight
-126 kilos of cocaine seized
The Customs Anti Narcotics Unit (CANU) has recorded major success this year in their fight against the drug trade. This is evident from figures released from the unit on their seizures for this year as compared to last year.
So far for this year the Unit has seized some 126 kilograms of cocaine as compared to some 72 kilograms for 2010. Also for this year the unit managed to seize some 574 kilograms of marijuana as compared to some 12 kilograms for last year.
In an exclusive interview with this publication CANU’s head James Singh in summing up the year’s activity said the overall performance of the unit was excellent as they were able to break up several drug networks. While this has been the case Singh said they will not become complacent in the drug fight as they will continue to work closely with other law enforcement agencies. Singh said that the other agencies including the Berbice Anti Smuggling Squad, the Guyana Police Force and the Customs and Trade Unit should also be credited for the success.
Pointing to some of the major busts for this year Singh said many of them were made possible by their intelligence gathering skills. Some of these seizures included a 30 kilograms bust which was made in October at the Number 73 Village West Coast Berbice. Again in the Berbice area some 80 lbs of cocaine were seized with several other interceptions at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport. Most of these seizures led to prosecutions in the courts. Also Singh pointed out that couriers continue to find more innovative ways to ship their product. One of the most bizarre cases so far for this year was back in January when a 60 year-old crippled American woman was found with nine kilograms of cocaine in her wheelchair. The woman was attempting to pass through the Cheddi Jagan International Airport Timehri.
“While some may be judging our performance on the prosecution of what they consider the ‘big fishes’ there is a bit of difficulty there since capturing the ‘big fishes’ is equally important as breaking up the network,”.
Singh explained that like other countries their biggest challenge is being able to nab the ‘king pins’.
“When you hold the transporters there is no way they give you their boss’ name so all we are left to do is charge those who are caught. The problem is getting to the bosses”.
Singh added that over the past three years there has been a decrease in the amount of cocaine seized. Pointing to the few instances where cocaine were found on vessels which left ports in Guyana, Singh said that much more can be done to monitor those wharfs.
“We have been working closely with the Customs but I guess much more needs to be done,”. Further Singh stated that while CANU has been stepping up their fight, from the recent experiences the drug transporters seem to be doing the same as there were instances where CANU ranks came under fire while doing raids. Hence more emphasis will be placed on the safety and security of ranks.
Meanwhile in the coming year, the Unit will continue in the same vein to combat the drug trade as they continue to join forces with the other law enforcement agencies. In addition he said that enhancing their manpower will also be dealt with.