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Cocaine-in-charcoal destined for US intercepted

Guyanese anti-drug agents have discovered a quantity of cocaine stashed in a wood charcoal that was bound for the United States (US), a senior official said.

During the examination, Officers observed four strange objects in one of the bags which did not confirm with the description of the charcoals that were declared for export. As the objects were probed, a white powdery substance emanated. A field test was carried out on the substance in the presence of the exporter and tested positive for cocaine,” the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) said in a statement.

Head of the Customs Anti-Narcotics Unit (CANU), James Singh said the shipper, who is also a charcoal producer, has been arrested.

Singh said the “container full” of several hundred bags of charcoal was intercepted at along the Linden Soesdyke Highway on Monday, March 30, 2015. He said the amount of cocaine was not yet known because the illicit drug was yet to be retrieved from.

He said the detainee is a known charcoal producer and shipper.

The CANU boss said the seizure was a joint operation between his entity, police and customs through a Container Control Programme (CCP). The CCP was introduced to Guyana under the auspices of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) with direct support from the United States (US).

The GRA said in its statement the search was conducted after it was flagged for  a 100 percenr examination on March 11, 2015.

The shipment was scheduled for examination on March 13, at Silver Hill Linden Highway in the presence of the GRA’s Goods Examination Unit (GEU) and the Port Control Unit (PCU). However, the exporter did not present the consignment for examination on the scheduled date, indicating that he was experiencing some unforeseen difficulties.

As a result, the examination was rescheduled for March 30 and on the said day, a team consisting of Officers from the GRA’s Law Enforcement Division and the PCU proceeded to Silver Hill to conduct a 100 percent examination of the consignment.

After the positive field test, the GRA said the examination process was immediately halted and the exporter was cautioned and detained as a result of the findings. The Customs Anti-Narcotic Unit (CANU) was contacted
and informed of the discovery.

Upon arrival at Silver Hill CANU Officers then secured the goods and proceeded to investigate further.

Approximately 2,900 bags were secured in two 40ft containers to be inspected due to the volume of goods and security concerns raised.

Investigations are ongoing and the GRA will provide additional details as they unfold,the agency said in the statement.