US setting up DEA office in Guyana to go after drug lords

Last Updated on Thursday, 26 June 2014, 16:21 by GxMedia

President Donald Ramotar and US Ambassador, Brent Hardt.

The United States (US) is to set up an office of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) here to help go after drug kingpins at a time when there is a shift in trafficking routes, American Ambassador Brent Hardt announced on Thursday.

“There is definitely a shift to this region as we work closely with Mexico and Central America to tighten up some of the areas there so this does have a strategic purpose in that sense that the flows are increasing and there is need to boost our presence and engagement in the Caribbean,”  he told reporters.

He said the DEA would be moving equipment and personnel very soon in keeping with Congressional approval to set up for the office in Guyana. It would be based in the US Embassy.

The American envoy has previously said the anti-drug agents of the police and Customs and Anti Narcotics Unit (CANU) would have to be screened to ensure that that they do not leak vital information to suspects.  He explained on Thursday that local agents would be responsible for arresting suspects after receiving and sharing intelligence with the DEA.

“It’s a matter of working to build cases, use the intelligence to draw on DEA’s global and regional organisations,” he said.

Hardt echoed the desire of President Donald Ramotar for the passage of amendments to the Anti  Money Laundering and Countering of Financing Terrorism (AML/CFT)Act.