A first-time Canadian visitor to Guyana was yesterday remanded to prison for the alleged possession of almost 21 pounds of cocaine discovered in his suitcases at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport, Timehri (CJIA) on Tuesday.
Edward Jones, a 58-year-old Canadian National, pleaded not guilty when the charge of possession of narcotics for the purpose of trafficking was read to him by Chief Magistrate Priya Sewnarine-Beharry. The charge stated that the substance weighed 9.545 kilogrammes (equivalent to approximately 21 pounds).
According to Prosecutor Bharat Mangru, Jones was a passenger at the CJIA on a Caribbean Airlines flight to Canada when ranks from the Customs Anti-Narcotics Unit (CANU) conducted a baggage search.
During the search, a suitcase was discovered with a false bottom. The defendant was contacted and his two suitcases were searched. The search, Mangru said, revealed the white substance suspected to be cocaine in the two suitcases. Jones was informed of the revelations and chose to remain silent. Jones subsequently denied any knowledge of the substance, the prosecutor stated.
Marcel Bobb, Jones’ lawyer, stated that his client had already been on the plane when he was asked by CANU officers to disembark. In his bail application, the lawyer stated that Jones suffers from a heart condition and is also hypertensive and diabetic. Bobb added that his client has a stent in his heart and had been scheduled to visit a doctor on his return to Canada.
According to Bobb, Jones had been in Guyana to visit the Guyanese mother of his children born locally. Bobb added that there are persons in Guyana who can accommodate Jones if he is placed on bail and added that his client is willing to surrender his passport.
While Bobb asked for bail in a reasonable sum, prosecutor Mangru objected to bail, stating that the reasons given by the defence were not considered special reasons as they related to the offence but rather the defendant. Mangru also said that the defendant has no relatives in Guyana and is likely to flee as he is the citizen of another country.
As a result, Jones was refused bail and the case was adjourned until January 13, when it is to be heard at the Providence Magistrate’s Court.