Exporter charged over $2B cocaine in fish food

Gilbert Bristol, an importer/exporter who is accused of trying to ship $2B in cocaine hidden in fish food due for China, was yesterday arraigned on a drug trafficking charge.

Bristol, of 154 Garnett Street, Newtown, Kitty, was remanded to prison by Chief Magistrate Priya Sewnarine-Beharry, despite a petition by his lawyer for him to be placed on bail owing to a medical condition.

Gilbert Bristol
Gilbert Bristol

It is alleged by the Customs Anti-Narcotic Unit (CANU) that on December 7, at the GNSC Wharf, Bristol had in his possession 233 kilos of cocaine for the purpose of trafficking.

Bristol denied the charge after it was read to him by the Chief Magistrate.
CANU special prosecutor Oswald Massiah told the court that Bristol arrived at the wharf and identified himself as an exporter and he stood at all times overlooking the packing of three containers, which contained 1,500 bags of fish food in total.

Massiah further said that after the container was scanned by officials of CANU and the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA), a strange image appeared on the screen, which prompted a search. It uncovered that eight of the 1,500 bags contained a whitish substance suspected to be cocaine.

He added that after the discovery was made, CANU ranks then weighed the substance in the presence of Bristol and he was subsequently arrested and charged.

Attorney Latchmie Rahamat, who represented Bristol, sought bail, saying that her client had no knowledge of the illegal substance and that there was no evidence that it was in his possession.

In addition, Rahamat said that Bristol currently suffers from a condition—which was not identified to the court—that requires special medication at all time. She added that the Camp Street prison may not have the care her client needed.
She also said that Bristol had no prior charges.

Massiah, however, objected. He said Bristol had told investigators that he was an importer and exporter who operated a business at his home address. However, he added, when investigators visited his home, no evidence of a place of business was discovered.

He further noted that the Camp Street prison is capable of handling any medical challenge which may be faced by Bristol during his incarceration. He also brought it to the magistrate’s attention that no medical testimonial was provided to the court as evidence of the claim about his condition.

After hearing both submissions, the magistrate then refused bail. The case was adjourned until Friday, when it will be called in Court One for reports and fixtures.

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