The eventual extradition of two Guyanese to and from the United States (US) to face murder trials could pave the way for more Guyanese to be sent to that North American nation to be prosecuted for alleged drug trafficking based on solid evidence being gathered by Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents who are based here, says outgoing United States (US) Ambassador to Guyana, Perry Holloway
“I think once those two guys go back and forth I think you will see more in both directions,” Holloway told sections of the media ahead of the end of his three-year tour of duty here.
His comment came against the background of the impending extradition of Guyanese-American, Marcus Bisram from the US to be trialed for the alleged murder of a man on the Corentyne on November 1, 2016. Recently, a Guyana court ruled in favour of a US extradition request for Guyanese Troy Thomas who has been charged with the murder of a man in New York in 2011.
In the past, now convicted and jailed Guyanese drug lord, Barry Dataram, had successfully fought a US extradition request by citing a number of loopholes in the Fugitive Offenders Act. That law has since been tightened to prevent more accused wanted persons from exploiting gaps in the law connected to the Extradition Treaty between the US and the United Kingdom during British colonial rule of Guyana.
After an extensive operation spanning several months in Guyana, Colombia and Jamaica, eventually Guyanese hotelier Shervington ‘Big Head’ Lovell, a Surinamese and a Colombia were arrested in late October on arrival in Jamaica based on a US arrest warrant. They were last month extradited to New York for trial for cocaine trafficking.
In the past Guyanese drug traffickers, Shaheed ‘Roger’ Khan and Peter Morgan had been arrested in Trinidad, and Panama and flown to the US where they had been convicted and jailed for drug trafficking.
The American diplomat said the US extradites persons to other countries where there is a good chance of a fair trial.
Holloway, who has worked in counter-narcotics settings in Colombia and Afghanistan, believes that the DEA’s presence in Guyana over the past three years has helped in gathering evidence on Lovell and eventually arresting him. “We did have a recent case of Mr. Lovell. That came about he is actually in the U.S came about as information developed here between DEA, CANU,(Customs Anti-Narcotics Unit) and the Guyana Police Force. It just so happens he was arrested in Jamaica. But there was a lot of reasons for that. He was meeting up with some other guys so it was a way to get everybody in one place at one time. That has been a small success story,” he said.
Stressing that the gathering and processing of information on money launderers, narcotics organisations and kingpins could take years, the outgoing American envoy said he has seen no evidence that drugs transshipment has worsened but certainly it continues as is the case across South America. “I think, my gut feeling is that things have gotten a little better as far as the big, big shipments going through Guyana,” he said.
He forecast that from 2021 or 2023, a lot more “positive actions” would be taken through cooperation by Guyanese and international law enforcement agencies.
“We knew before Guyana was a transshipment point, we knew certain individuals and organizations were operating in Guyana, just as the Guyanese persons knew. But it is hard to prove .so by coming here we gathered a lot more information on those organizations and individuals we have been working closely and can actually share information that we have with the police and CANU,” he added.