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Barry Dataram, three others charged with cocaine trafficking

Barry Dataram and Anjanie Budnarine

A Guyanese man, wanted by the United States (US) to face narcotics charges, was among  four persons refused bail for allegedly being in possession of 100 kilogrammes of cocaine for the purpose of trafficking.

Dataram and a number of other persons were arrested on Thursday, April 16, 2015 at 661 Fourth Avenue, Diamond, East Bank Demerara.  The others are Anjanie Budnarine, 19, carpenter Trevor Gouveia of Best Village, West Coast Demerara and Labourer Komal Charran, 20, of 265 Bell West,  West Bank Demerara.

They pleaded not guilty to the charge.

Chief Magistrate, Priya Sewnarine-Beharry remanded the trio to prison until May 7, 2015.

There, 129.230  kilogrammes of cocaine, some in frozen seafood, were seized by local and foreign law enforcement agents.

While Dataram, also an American citizen, is wanted by the US for cocaine trafficking, his lawyers were able to convince the High Court that there were technicalities in the extradition agreement and so he remains in Guyana.

Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Stephen Telford told the court that Dataram and Budnarine shared a common law relationship and reside at Diamond.

Telford noted that Dataram is Guyanese by birth but obtained US citizenship. He added that the number Gouveia and Charran are friends of Dataram.

The court heard that on the day in question ranks from the Customs Anti Narcotics Unit (CANU) went to the home of Dataram, where all four defendants were. A subsequent search was carried out and the illicit drug was found. They were all arrested and charged with the offence.

The police prosecutor requested that bail be refused for all four defendants since investigations are still incomplete.

He further urged the court that to take into consideration the quantum of drugs found and for the analyst test to be completed.

Attorney-at-law Mr. Glenn Hanoman stated that the address of Dataram and Budnarine are disputed. He said Dataram resides at Vriesland, near Patentia village. He added that Budnarine lives at Lot 79 Patentia Housing Scheme, which is the neighboring village to Dataram’s village.

Defence counsel said the house, which CANU agents are alleging that the drugs and the accused were found, is accessible to multiple persons. He said there are other persons who have keys to the place and are not charged.

Hanoman said Budnarine was with her 11 month old son at the time of the arrest, since she took her child to see his father.

The lawyer said that Budnarine has many persons to give evidence when she left her property.
Counsel said he is a aware that these courts do not grant bail for these charges unless special reasons given are satisfactory to the court.

Hanoman, however, requested bail for Budnarine pleading that she has no relatives close by to take care her young child and he is still breastfeeding. 

However, Prosecutor Telford relied on his objection grounds and urged that if bail granted they may not return for their trial since they are other charges likely to be laid against them.