The self-propelled semi-submersible vessel, built in northwestern Guyana to move a large consignment of cocaine possibly to Africa, is to be sent overseas for forensic tests, according to an official of the Customs Anti-Narcotics Unit (CANU).
The vessel is at the John Fernandes Limited (JFL) wharf from where it will be placed on a Seaboard ship, possibly for Florida, United States (US).
Head of the Customs Anti Narcotics Unit (CANU), James Singh declined to say what the forensic tests could possibly yield and whether the vessel would be returned to Guyana. Usually, tests on such vessels can determine the origin and buyer of the materials that were used to build the diesel-powered craft, and who may have been associated with the design and construction.
Based on a label stating “Donated by the Government of Guyana” it is almost certain that the semi-submersible vessel would be sent back to Guyana after the tests have been concluded.
One of several persons, who had been questioned, had been arrested and was subequently released after his lawyer filed habeas corpus proceedings in the High Court.
The US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) had been invited by the Guyana government shortly after the discovery of the 65 feet long by 12 feet wide vessel in a creek under thick jungle in the Waini area.
When the vessel was found in mid-August , there were no drugs or other illegal items. However, local anti-drug agents believed that it signalled a well-organised cocaine-smuggling operation that involved foreigners who were searching for new routes because of the successful anti-drug fight in Colombia.
The self-propelled semi-submersible craft appeared to be in its final stages of construction due to its proximity to a camp with fibre glass and other materials.