US-woman charged over frozen fish cocaine

A US-based Guyanese was remanded to prison yesterday on a charge that she attempted to smuggle nearly eight pounds of cocaine hidden in frozen fish on to a flight to New York.

Joyce Ram de Cunha, of 55 East 99 Street, Apt. 13A, New York, New York, appeared before Chief Magistrate Priya Sewnarine-Beharry yesterday afternoon to answer a charge of possession of narcotics for the purpose of trafficking. The charge alleged that the woman had in her possession 3.498 kilogrammes of cocaine on May 28 at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport, Timehri where she was apprehended.

The unrepresented woman, who also supplied a First Street, Alexander Village address to the court, pleaded not guilty when the charge was put to her.

 Accused cocaine trafficker Joyce Ram de Cunha, 54
Accused cocaine trafficker Joyce Ram de Cunha, 54

According to Customs Anti-Narcotic Unit (CANU) Prosecutor Oswald Massiah, Ram de Cunha arrived in Guyana on April 15 and was scheduled to leave the country on May 28 aboard Caribbean Airlines flight BW524 destined for New York. At the time, Massiah said, the woman had two pieces of luggage with her.

Acting on information received, an on-duty CANU officer approached the woman onboard the plane and asked her name and several other details. She was then invited off of the plane for further questioning.

Massiah stated that the woman verified her suitcases when they were presented to her. A bunch of keys were provided for the suitcase but none fit them, he added.

In her presence, a suitcase was pried open and checked. Inside was a smaller suitcase surrounded by five fish wrapped in plastic and newspaper. Upon closer inspection of the fish, it was discovered that they were all stitched with black polythene thread. Looking through the stitches, the officer noticed a shiny material which was soon identified as foil. The foil was pierced and a white, powdery substance emerged from within.

When confronted, Ram De Cunha reportedly admitted that a man called “Fine Man” had given her the fish to take to another man in the US.

The woman and her belongings were taken to the CANU headquarters. There, the smaller suitcase was also opened in her presence and revealed one fish wrapped in a manner similar to that of the others. This fish, Massiah said, was seasoned. Cocaine was also discovered hidden in its belly. Massiah pointed out that no clothes at all were in the suitcases.

Massiah added that a check of the woman’s passport also showed that she had arrived in Guyana on March 9 and had left a few days later on March 15.

No special reasons were raised for the consideration of bail and the defendant was remanded to prison until Monday June 2. She will make her next appearance before Magistrate Leron Daly at the Providence Magistrate’s Court.

Latest in Local News

default placeholder

Brian Tiwarie blasts Ramotar administration over specialty hospital project

Businessman Brian Tiwarie yesterday rejected claims that his company had taken possession of containers belonging to the fired Specialty Hospital contractor and he accused the Donald Ramotar administration of grossly mismanaging the project.

The Kato school

Multimillion-dollar Kato school unsafe for children

The Kato Secondary School, which was constructed at a cost over hundreds of millions of dollars, remains unoccupied because it is not safe for children, Minister of State Joseph Harmon said yesterday.

default placeholder

Repairs underway to shifting Hope Canal bridge

There is a major structural fault with the $350m bridge constructed across the Hope Canal,  East Coast Demerara, according to Minister of State Joseph Harmon, who yesterday said the structure has repeatedly shifted away from the road.

default placeholder

National Assembly approves $800m in supplementary spending

After hours of deliberations, the National Assembly last night approved almost $800 million in extra-budgetary spending including on 6000 solar panels to “green” State House and an army exercise aimed at testing the preparedness of the Guyana Defence Force which was done last year.

default placeholder

Brian Tiwarie planning to establish newspaper

Prominent businessman and owner of BK International, Brian Tiwarie, is planning to open his own newspaper company here and has started the process.

default placeholder

Probe underway into stealth flights from Ogle

An inquiry has been launched into the circumstances surrounding how two planes left Guyana illegally from the Eugene F Correia International Airport (EFCIA) last Saturday, Minister of State Joseph Harmon said yesterday.

default placeholder

Finance Minister says unsure of UG ‘emergency’ funding needs

Minister of Finance Winston Jordan has said that he is unsure of the ‘emergency’ funding the University of Guyana needs to reputedly prevent a collapse of the  institution.

default placeholder

Ministry welcomes removal from US human trafficking watch list

The Ministry of Social Protection yesterday welcomed the latest classification on Trafficking in Persons (TIP), which has seen the country coming off the watch list for TIP, that is, moving from Tier 2 on the Watch List to just Tier Two.

Comments

About these comments

The comments section is intended to provide a forum for reasoned and reasonable debate on the newspaper's content and is an extension of the newspaper and what it has become well known for over its history: accuracy, balance and fairness. We reserve the right to edit or delete comments which contain attacks on other users, slander, coarse language and profanity, and gratuitous and incendiary references to race and ethnicity.

Stay updated! Follow Stabroek News on Facebook or Twitter.

Get the day's headlines from SN in your inbox every morning: