US man remanded on cocaine in powdered milk charge

Accused of concealing 33 pounds of cocaine in 15 packets of powdered milk, American-born Jermaine Lowe was refused bail and remanded to prison when he appeared yesterday in court.

Lowe, 28, pleaded not guilty when the charge was read to him by Chief Magistrate Priya Sewnarine-Beharry.

It is alleged that on January 17, at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA), Lowe had in his possession 15.308 kilogrammes of cocaine for the purpose of trafficking.

According to Customs Anti-Narcotics Unit (CANU) Prosecutor Oswald Massiah, Lowe came to Guyana some time in 2009 and lived with his father, a Guyanese, on the East Coast Demerara. He claimed that he had lost his American passport and later received another from the local US Embassy.

During his stay in Guyana, Massiah said, Lowe made friends with a number of Guyanese. One of these persons offered him a ticket back to America, which he accepted. According to Massiah, an arrangement was struck between Lowe and his friend, which entailed Lowe taking an illegal substance with him to America. Massiah stated that this arrangement was agreed to by the accused. The initial date for the arrangement, it was reported, was scheduled as January 3. However, the plan did not materialise and was instead rescheduled to a later date.

On the day in question, Lowe was being processed to board a Caribbean Airlines flight BW528 when CANU officers on duty, acting on suspicion, summoned him to identify his suitcase. After identifying his suitcase, it was opened in his presence. Massiah stated that the suitcase was discovered bearing 2 bags wrapped in transparent plastic amongst male clothing. The two bags were then opened and contained 8 and 7 packets of what appeared to be Kerrygold-brand milk powder. The bags were then examined by the CANU officers and a whitish substance emerged. A field test was immediately conducted in the defendant’s presence and the suspicion arose that the content was cocaine. The suspicion was relayed to the defendant and he was cautioned and arrested before being escorted to CANU headquarters, where the complete number of packets were checked and field-tested. The same result occurred in each. The substance was subsequently weighed and amounted to 15.308 kilograms. Lowe was later charged.

The man’s lawyer asked for bail to be granted, stating that his client is asthmatic. However, Prosecutor Massiah objected to bail based on the quantity of the substance.

Lowe was refused bail and the matter was transferred to the Providence Magistrate’s Court for January 28, where it is to be called for report and fixtures.

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