Two plane passengers remanded on cocaine charges

Two outgoing passengers who were nabbed at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport, Timehri with cocaine in their luggage on separate occasions last week, appeared yesterday in the Georgetown Magistrate’s Court and denied the allegations made against them.

The first case involved 27-year-old Italian Elena Campitiello who allegedly tried to ship cocaine out of the country last Thursday by saturating pieces of clothing with the drug before drying them.

Dressed in black and carrying a small suitcase and a bag, Campitiello made her way into the courtroom. She appeared calm and remained expressionless when the charge was read to her.

She pleaded not guilty to the charge of trafficking in narcotics and Magistrate Hazel Octive Hamilton remanded her to prison.

It is alleged that Campitiello had in excess of two grammes of cocaine for the purpose of trafficking.

Campitiello lives in Kenya, East Africa where she works for SOS Organization, a charity that helps the poor in that country.

Reports are that she arrived in Guyana on November 14 and stayed at a city hotel. She subsequently stayed in a rented apartment also located in the city.

Last Thursday, the woman checked in at the airport for a flight to New York, from where she would have journeyed on to Kenya.

After she completed this process, officers from the Customs Anti-Narcotics Unit (CANU) checked her hand luggage where several pieces of clothing, including a towel and socks, suspected to have cocaine were found.

After being told of the suspicion, Campitiello told CANU officers that the bag was given to her by a friend she had studied with in England and this was the same person who invited her to visit Guyana. She reportedly said that the friend was sending the clothing and other items for the poor in Kenya.

Attorney-at-law Vic Puran entered an appearance for her yesterday.

The matter will continue on December 11 at the Providence Magistrate’s Court.

In the second case, Francis Barakat of 32 ‘A’ Barrack Street, Kingston pleaded not guilty to the charge of trafficking in narcotics, when he appeared in the same court and was remanded to prison.

It is alleged that on Saturday at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport, he had two kilogrammes, 954 grammes of cocaine for the purpose of trafficking.

Dressed in a blue shirt and cream pants and holding a plastic bag, Barakat like Campitiello, appeared calm.

However, he hid his face from the cameras from the time he left the police vehicle until he reached the courtroom and again covered his face until he was in the court lockups after the case had ended.

Attorney-at-law Ronald Burch-Smith who entered an appearance for him requested an early report date.

The matter will be heard at the Providence Magistrate’s Court on Friday.

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