Two remanded over cocaine bust at CJIA
Two men, including a Roraima Airways employee, were today remanded to prison over the almost two kilos of cocaine intercepted at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport, Timehri (CJIA) on Monday.
Sidney Matthews, an employee of Roraima Airways attached to the Aviation Security Division (AVSEC) that provides services to the airport and Mark Fredericks, 51, a driver attached to the Waterchris Hotel and Restaurant, which provides the catering service for all the major airlines, were jointly charged with possession of narcotics for the purpose of trafficking.
It was alleged that on September 3, at the CJIA, Matthews and Fredericks had in their possession 1.855 kilogrammes of cocaine for the purpose of trafficking. The men, who appeared before Chief Magistrate Priya Sewnarine-Beharry at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Court, both pleaded not guilty.
The court heard that Matthews had been seen leaving the Waterchris Hotel for the airport in a minibus and he was spotted with a Delta Airline Bag.
Later, Matthews, the prosecution said, while on duty, threw the bag on a forklift, which was taking meals for a Delta Airlines flight that was parked on the tarmac.
It was at this point that Fredericks allegedly tried to snatch the bag from the forklift, which was noticed by security officers on duty, who pulled the bag and searched it. A whitish substance suspected to be cocaine was discovered, leading to the arrest of both accused.
Attorney Glenn Hanoman, who represented Matthews, said that his client denied the allegations and he appealed for an early trial date.
Although he made an application for bail, Hanoman refused to divulge Matthews’ address, saying it could jeopardise the lives of his family, given the nature of the offence.
Attorney Roger Yearwood, who represented Fredericks, said that the man was a father of two and the sole breadwinner of his Lot 310 Republic Park household. He noted that Fredericks has been a driver with the Waterchris for the past 20 years and had never been accused of such a crime. Fredericks, he admitted, had previously faced a charge of causing death by dangerous driving but was found not guilty.
Yearwood told the court that he was not pleased with the way the matter was handled, saying it showed the “ridiculousness” of the person who charged Fredericks. He said that there was not a single “iota” of evidence against his client, adding that another individual had the bag, threw it on the forklift and that Fredericks was not even at the scene.
The prosecution, however, objected to bail, maintaining that Fredericks at some point was in possession of the bag.
The magistrate subsequently remanded the accused until October 2, when the case will be called at the Providence Magistrate’s Court for reports and fixtures.