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Cocaine in Guyanese rice: Venezuelan caught with fake shipping container seals

Rice being loaded on a ship destined for Venezuela (file photo)

The Venezuelan man believed linked to a quantity of cocaine found in a shipment of Guyanese rice destined for Venezuela was caught with a number fake shipping container seals, officials said Friday.

Seals on the container in which the 69 kilogrammes of cocaine were found matched those that were found in possession of the man in the Dominican Republic.

The probe has also revealed that the Spanish-speaking national had travelled to Jamaica when the container was there and might have followed it to the Dominican Republic.

Guyanese investigators are trying to ascertain whether the cocaine was placed in the rice in Guyana or in one of the other countries.

The cocaine was discovered by authorities in the Spanish-speaking Dominican Republic on August 12. The Liberian-registered had already transited Jamaica and was due to leave the Dominican Republic when authorities there uncovered the stash.

Investigators believed that the cocaine should have been offloaded in Jamaica for an onward connection to the United States (US). Another option was to offload the drug in the Dominican Republic which is also considered a transit country for illicit drugs.

Customs Anti Narcotics Unit (CANU) agents, according to a senior official there, have already questioned four persons including Customs Officers and representatives of the rice company, Technomills (Guyana) Inc, based at Eccles, East Bank Demerara.

The shipment was made in the name of the Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB).