From fish, to shrimp, to boulanger, to charcoal, to tonics- drug traffickers continue to find innovative and easy ways to sustain their trade.
It’s not clear how many slip through using these ingenuous methods, since some of the cleverest missions have failed.
Drug trafficking in Guyana affects nearly all aspects of our lives. In recent years, this epidemic has become a growing concern as a wide range of food exports are being used as conduits for the movement of illicit drugs.
Although it generates vast illegal profits, it causes criminal groups to undermine the state’s authority; it also hurts the legitimate economy.
Even though the authorities have managed to swoop down on some of these drug mules, the drug trade signals the presence of strong criminal groups and networks.
Between January and June there were numerous drug trafficking cases called at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Court (GMC). A few guilty pleas were entered by the defendants, while many others were found guilty at the conclusion of their trials. The others were remanded to prison pending the outcome of their trial. A few of them were dismissed because of insufficient evidence.
The biggest drug case for the year is that of 58 year-old Linden businessman, Colin Prescod. This father of 29 allegedly tried to smuggle 178KG of cocaine to the USA. The cocaine was reportedly stashed in bags of charcoal.
Coming in second, is the case of businessman, Barry Dataram, his 19 year-old reputed wife Anjanie Boodnarine and their two friends- Komal Charran and Trevor Gouveia. A trial is still being conducted in this matter. The quartet allegedly had 129.23KG of cocaine stuffed in frozen fish for export.
The highest fine for the year was imposed on a single parent in March. Basmati Persaud, called ‘Lolita’ of 460 Grass Field, Lusignan, East Coast Demerara was ordered to pay a fine of $11, 097,000, after she tried to smuggle 12.330KG of cocaine in boulangers at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA). She will be spending the next 56 months behind bars.
The drug busts continued in June, the month of brides. Four persons have been jailed so far. The quartet was jailed for a total of 17 years and fined a total of $392,350.
Last month, appearing before Magistrate Fabayo Azore on separate drug trafficking charges were Damario Cheslie, a Surinamese and Zainab Mohamed. Cheslie, who was found with cocaine laced condom in her vagina and Mohamed were granted bail by the High Court.
Meanwhile, fish trader, Mohamed Ali was released on $600,000 bail, by Magistrate Rushell Liverpool at the Leonora Magistrate’s Courts after he was accused of trafficking 51.626 kilos of cocaine stuffed in shrimp. Ali first appeared at the GMC and was remanded to prison.
After spending last Christmas behind bars, Deon Layne of 88 Freeman Street, East La Penitence, walked out the GMC a free man in January, after his case was dismissed. In one of the most publicised cases, he was accused of giving a US citizen a bottle of SSS tonic containing cocaine to transport to his child mother. Four persons died from consuming the tonic.
In February, Canadian citizen, Rohbina Basdeo and her reputed husband, Mahendra Ransuchit appeared at the GMC after they had over 20kilos of cocaine in their possession. The couple slipped past airport security by using the VIP lounge but was later removed from the aircraft and searched.
Cocaine was not the only drug that attracted the attention of anti-drug agents. In March, wife Killer, Rudolph London was jailed for three years for having eight grammes of cannabis in possession. London, who was an inmate of the Camp Street Prison at the time, was subsequently sentenced to 14 years imprisonment on a manslaughter charge by Justice Franklyn Holder.
So far in April, two American citizens were jailed after pleading guilty to separate drug charges. Rueben Lamb 27 and Antwon Brumfield 20, of Nandy Park, East Bank Demerara, were each sentenced to three years imprisonment. They were ordered to pay fines of $1.5M and $30,000 respectively.
They were several other cases that were heard including that of Prison Officer, Stayon Forde, who was jailed for four years.
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