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No hard evidence to identify and prosecute drug lords- Rohee

Home Affairs Minister Clement Rohee on Monday said the security agencies have no hard evidence on which to arrest and convict suspect drug lords.

“Most of these things are anecdotal. People walk around and say that is a drug lord, that is a drug baron but I don’t think law enforcement could work on the basis of that kind of situation less they make themselves a fool in front of the courts unless they have strong concrete incontrovertible evidence against an individual,” he told reporters at the release of the Ministry of Home Affairs’ 2012 National Drug Report.

Rohee declined to say whether the law enforcement agencies were using that anecdotal information to gather the necessary intelligence. “You’re shifting the goal post,” he said when asked by Demerara Waves Online News.

Asked if he was saying that Guyana has no drug lords, Rohee said he would only say so publicly if there was concrete evidence. “Listen to me, I am not going down that road. You not going to trap me this time or ever,” he responded when pressed on whether he was saying that there were no large drug traffickers.

A  senior law enforcement officer has told Demerara Waves on condition of anonymity that intelligence gathering on suspected drug lords was ongoing. However, witnesses were unwilling to come forward even in plea bargains for fear of their lives and virtually non-existent witness protection in a small country such as ours.

The officer has noted that the smallness of the country limited the extent to which undercover agents could infiltrate groups over a long period without being suspected or known.

Demerara Waves was also told that the United States and other Western Nations prefer to arrest Guyanese drug traffickers on the high seas with large amounts of narcotics because the chances of convictions are much greater.

The United States (US) had several years ago unsealed a number of indictments as part of a process to have the accused persons extradited to face trial. However, Guyana’s High Court had found grounds to challenge aspects of the process that could have led to the extraditions.

The US in recent times had nabbed Shaheed ‘Roger’ Khan in neighbouring Suriname and passed him through Trinidad from where US Federal agents had flown him to New York. He was convicted for cocaine trafficking and jailed.

Guyanese motor racer, Peter Morgan was also arrested in Panama and taken to New York where he was also convicted.