– attorney claims client unaware drug was hidden in Hawan Kunds
Police yesterday detained a housing scheme developer and are seeking to locate a businessman who was implicated in a Canada drug bust three years ago.
The developments came as investigations continued into the discovery of over $300M in cocaine (some 72 kilograms) at a Haslington New Scheme, East Coast Demerara residence.
But attorney-at law Vickramaditya Puran, who is representing the Bacchus family, in whose home the drug was found, says that his clients were unaware that the cocaine was concealed in the religious objects. He also accused investigators of trying to force the head of the household, Leonard Bacchus, into a plea bargain deal.
An official confirmed that the man arrested yesterday is suspected to be the person who was attempting to ship several Hawan Kunds (receptacles used in Hindu worship) stashed with cocaine overseas.
The official also said that the businessman being questioned is a housing scheme developer. Kaieteur News also confirmed that the individual is one of several persons for whom police had issued wanted bulletins in October 2010. The businessman and others were each released on station bail of $100,000 each without charges.
Police are also looking for another businessman who was detained here in 2008 after Canadian authorities intercepted some CDN$40M in cocaine stashed among pepper sauce that was shipped from Guyana. A brother of the businessman was also detained following that bust.
Meanwhile, police continued to grill Haslington New Scheme residents Leonard Bacchus and his wife, at whose home the drugs and several rounds of ammunition were found. Two of the couple’s teenage children are also still in custody.
Attorney-at-Law Puran confirmed that he is representing the entire Bacchus household.
According to Puran, Leonard Bacchus has given police a statement saying that he was merely doing a job of sanding and polishing the Kunds, which were delivered to him by someone else.”
“The man (Bacchus) was hustling. Somebody bring some Kunds (to him) and say sand and paint them. These Kunds are not manufactured at my clients’ premises. From what I gathered the drugs were encased in the metal.”
He also accused police investigators of improperly questioning Mr. Bacchus in an attempt to force him to strike a plea bargain.
“The police are improperly inducing Mr. Bacchus into a plea bargaining deal. The plea bargaining process has to include the lawyer, and that has not happened.
“Mr. Bacchus has insinuated that they keep wearing him down to call people’s names he does not know. His wife and daughter are in custody, I think (this is intended) to sap his will.
Puran also queried the motive for the detention of the Bacchus children, who he said were aged 15 and 14. According to him, a ten-year-old from the family was also detained, but has since been released.
“In my years of practice, this is the first time I am seeing this. They had a ten-year old (in custody). They say they will not release anyone without legal advice. My client is an innocent agent upon who undue pressure is being brought to bear.”
The attorney said that while he congratulated the investigators for unearthing the drugs, “I want to know why good police work did not follow. They say they had surveillance for three months, but how come they can’t trace the car that brought the Hawan Kunds?”
Police said that investigators found 72 kilograms of cocaine concealed in the false bottoms of a number of spiritual kunds following a search at the Bacchus’s premises.
The officers also found 125 twelve-gauge cartridges and 150 rounds of .32 ammunition.
Kaieteur News understands that the couple has disclaimed knowledge of the cocaine and has implicated an associate.
Bacchus and his family moved into the area sometime around 2008.
Bacchus, according to sources, started operating a taxi service a few months ago. According to neigbhours, the couple and their children seemed easy-going and residents were left in a state of disbelief when the police swooped down at the home on Tuesday.
This newspaper was told that the lawmen started searching the home sometime after 13:00hrs and never finished until 17:00hrs that day.
Kaieteur News understands that the lawmen removed over two Canter trucks full of the Hindu Spiritual Kunds. The “Kunds” are usually made of copper.
Further, this newspaper understands that the businessman was seen for the past three months, bringing the “Kunds” to and from his home.
“He would bring them, then take it inside. Afterwards, they would be taken away looking shiny and ready for shipment,” one source said.
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