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Dom. Rep. finds cocaine in rice aboard ship that departed Guyana

The cocaine that was found in a shipment of rice aboard a Liberia-registered cargo ship.

A large quantity of cocaine was found in a consignment of rice aboard a ship in the Dominican Republic, but it is unclear whether the narcotic was placed in the grain before it left Guyana.

The grain was purchased from a local producer and exported by the Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB) to Venezuela on August 1 via Jamaica and the Dominican Republic.

Guyanese authorities were subsequently notified that 69 kilogrammes of cocaine were found in rice in a shipping container board the MV Azuria.

A senior official of the Customs Anti Narcotics Unit (CANU) confirmed that local and DR investigators were collaborating.

The CANU official emphasised that probe teams were trying to ascertain whether the drug was placed in the shipment of rice in Guyana or in Jamaica or the Dominican Republic. “Right now we can’t say for sure,” said the top local investigator.

No one has been detained locally in connection with the drug-find.

Other sources suspect that the drug might have been placed aboard the ship on the high seas after it departed Port Georgetown. A city-based shipping company processed documentation for the rice shipment.,

The Dominican Republic publication, Mundo Quisqueyano, on August 13 reported that that country’s National Drugs Control Agency (DNCD) that seized 69 packages of cocaine or heroin in Puerto Caucedo a Liberian-flagged container, from Jamaica.

Venezuelan, Yonathan Alberto Reyes, was arrested as he prepared to leave the country aboard a Venezuelan Aviation airline bound for Caracas, reported counternarcotics agency spokeswoman, Jacqueline Lamarche.

“Thanks to the hard work of intelligence by the International Affairs Division of the the National Drugs Control Agency and the support of the Caucedo  Port Security Authority, the DNI, CESEP, J-2 and Customs, it was possible  that this large stash of drugs was forfeited, “he said.

He explained that the container was opened in the presence of a prosecutor of the from the Province of Santo Domingo, port authority and officials and the Deputy Director of Military Security, among other authorities.

The narcotic was sent to the National Institute of Forensic Sciences (INACIF) for testing.