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Guyana-registered cargo ship intercepted with ganja in int’l waters

Marijuana (File photo)

A Guyanese-registered cargo vessel, which was returning to Guyana from Jamaica, was intercepted with more than 5,000 pounds of compressed marijuana as well as illegal weapons, sources said Saturday.

The vessel named MV An-Nur usually transports rice from the Essequibo Coast to neighbouring countries as well as other Caribbean countries including Jamaica.

Five Guyanese crew members were arrested during the operation last Tuesday.

Head of the Customs Anti-Narcotics Unit (CANU), James Singh confirmed the drug seizure but said he knew nothing about firearms.  He said the vessel was intercepted in international waters en route to Guyana. “Guyanese law enforcement authorities are aware of this and it is an ongoing operation and we are working in close cooperation with our international partners,” he told Demerara Waves Online News.

Asked why Guyana appeared to be  a choice destination for Jamaican marijuana, he said “it is coming here to be trans-shipped.” 

It was not immediately clear whether the vessel would be taken to Costa Rica. Other sources, however, said the vessel, the drugs and un-customed goods were escorted to that Central American country where they would appear in court.

In the past,  Guyana-bound ships with drugs  held in international waters were escorted to Jamaica and the captains and crews transferred to New York where they were convicted and jailed.

MV An-Nur departed these shores early in June and was returning home when anti-drug agents, acting on a tip-off, intercepted the vessel with the illegal substance.

Guyana is viewed as a major transhipment point for illicit substances and plans are afoot to establish a Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) office here to assist in combating the illegal trade.