Three testify as ‘cocaine for Thailand’ trial commences
Three witnesses testified yesterday on behalf of the Customs Anti-Narcotics Unit (CANU) as the drug trial against the three men who allegedly intended to ship 1.7 kilograms of cocaine out of Guyana to Thailand commenced.
The three witnesses, whose names were given, a Canter truck driver, a private customs broker and a security officer at the shipping agent where the incident is alleged to have occurred, appeared before Chief Magistrate Priya Beharry at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Court.
The Chief Magistrate is conducting the trial against Josylan Congreaves, of K 19 Tucville, Georgetown; Nigel James, called Dwayne Fraser of Mocha Arcadia, East Bank Demerara; and Marlon Dick, of Diamond, East Bank Demerara and Robb Street, Georgetown.
The men are accused of possessing 1.7 kilograms of cocaine for the purpose of trafficking on July 3 at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport. They all pleaded not guilty when they first appeared before the Chief Magistrate.
It is also alleged that in a bid to conduct the illegal business, Dick made up a fake shipping company called D.A. Imports and Exports for James. The company was said to be located at Beterverwagting, East Coast Demerara, but checks to that location proved that the company did not exist. False documents were also alleged to have been used to conduct transactions.
The truck driver who is said to be from Georgetown, testified that he had been contacted by the defendants to take goods to the airport at Timehri. The man said that he operates a Canter truck for hire and on the day in question he went to the front of Ashmin’s General store where he met the person who hired him to take the items to the airport.
The man said that eight boxes that were removed from a Tundra truck were loaded onto his Canter truck. He said two persons in a car followed as he made the airport trip. He said that he took the items to Amerijet located at the airport, offloaded the goods and made his way back to the city.
The second witness, a Customs Broker, testified to drawing up shipping documents for the men to conduct their business. The man said that he thought the documents handed over by Fraser, the person who was at the forefront of the transaction, were authentic so he did his job.
The man said that he had known Fraser for four years and had conducted business for the man before. He said that on June 11, Fraser contacted him and asked him to draw up some shipping documents. The Broker said that important information was missing from the document left at his office so he contacted the defendant to submit the relevant information. That was subsequently done, the man continued.
A tax identification number (TIN) was presented, a passport and other documents that seemed real were also provided, the witness said.
Identifications were made when the documents were presented to the court and the information was tendered as evidence. The witness then testified that he did not see the goods to be shipped but he said he saw and read the receipt.
The Broker said that some of the items to be shipped were curry powder, pepper sauce and juice. He said the receipts came from Nigel’s Supermarket and Beharry foods. The items that the Broker mentioned, CANU are alleging that the narcotics had been hidden inside.
The Amerijet security guard testified that on the day in question he made contact with Fraser who had come in with a canter truck and said that he had some items to ship. The man said he booked in the time the truck came, its registration number and the person conducting the transaction.
The book with the information was asked to be tendered, but Attorney-at-law Trenton Lake who is representing Congreaves objected to the document since he said that the date entry on the log book was not corresponding with the date of the charge and the date of the alleged offence.
Attorney-at-law Euclin Gomes is representing James and Dick is represented by Attorney Baveghems. Eleven witnesses are expected to testify in the matter.
CANU had stated that the men, while their documents were being checked at the airport, sped off in a car. Quick action by CANU ranks in Georgetown saw the men being intercepted at Craig Old Road, East Bank Demerara where they were apprehended. The trial will continue today.