The Customs Anti-Narcotics Unit (CANU) yesterday issued a bulletin for Nymrod Singh of New Road, Vreed-en-Hoop for questioning in relation to the discovery in Miami of cocaine in furniture shipped from Guyana.
Sources close to the investigation say that CANU has tracked the entire transaction since US officials made the bust and have determined that the furniture was picked up from the manufacturer on November 1, 2008 and it appeared in a container on November 25th at a local wharf for shipment. The shipment left Guyana on December 5th.
Investigators say that the furniture was packed into a container on the East Bank and sealed there and not opened until it got to Miami. Security experts say this is another weakness in the enforcement chain as exporters are being allowed to pack items such as furniture anywhere without thorough scrutiny by customs officials.
After Port Georgetown, the ship sailed to Suriname and then to Trinidad, St Maarten and Miami.
Customs authorities at the Port of Miami, on Monday acting on a tip off unearthed 373 pounds of cocaine hidden in the furniture. This bust involved 194 packages valued at US$5.5M which was concealed in 72 pieces of furniture.
According to NBC6.NET, the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Officers inspecting the containers at the Miami seaport were alerted by a CBP K-9 to a specific container loaded with furniture.
The officers, attached to the Anti-Terrorism Contraband Enforcement Team, proceeded to examine the furniture and discovered three packages concealed within one of the pieces of furniture. One of the packages was tested by the officers and the substance was positive for cocaine. More packages of the drugs were discovered in 71 other pieces of furniture.
The container with the furniture arrived in Miami last Friday aboard the freighter M/V Rio Para. The container was moved to the CBP facility for examination and opened on Monday.
Meanwhile progress continues to be made by CANU in relation to two large shipments of cocaine which were found in the dividers of cartons filled with pepper sauce bottles. One shipment was intercepted last month in New Brunswick, Canada and this led to another bust in St Croix, USVI.
CANU and the police are now seeking three men in connection with the pepper shipments: Reginald Rodrigues, Indarpaul Doodnauth and Orlando Watson. The sources say progress has been made since the publication of the photographs of the men and charges could be preferred shortly. CANU has also gathered more information on others who participated in the operations and information is being shared with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP). Indarpaul’s brother Mahendrapaul Doodnauth was held in Ontario after the interception of the first shipment of cocaine.
It is believed that Rodrigues has fled to Suriname and local law enforcers have been in touch with the authorities in Paramaribo and have notified them that he is being sought.
Sources say two other men are now being actively sought. They are associated with a store in downtown Georgetown. The sources say these men may have also gone underground as they are not only being sought by law enforcers but by the financiers of the now busted drug operation.
The RCMP seized 276 kilos of cocaine from the pepper sauce cartons while the US Drug Enforcement Agency retrieved 100 kilos from the St Croix interception.