Nymrod Singh wanted by the Customs Anti-Narcotics Unit (CANU) for questioning in relation to the discovery in Miami of cocaine in furniture shipped from Guyana was held by the police yesterday in Bartica.
On Friday CANU had issued a bulletin for the man whose address was given as New Road, Vreed-en-Hoop.
Sources close to the investigation told this newspaper that Singh was recognized from his photograph in the media by the staff of a Bartica hotel who then contacted the police. He was then transferred to Georgetown to be questioned by the members of the police anti-narcotics unit and officers from CANU.
Last Monday, acting on a tip off, Customs authorities at the Port of Miami unearthed 373 pounds of cocaine hidden in nibbi furniture which had arrived in a container on the M/V Rio Para. The bust involved 194 packages valued at US$5M which was concealed in 72 items of furniture.
Investigators say that the furniture had been packed into a container on the East Bank and sealed there, and had not been opened until it reached 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.
In the case of this bust, the shipper was a ghost company; however, sources told Stabroek News that there had been an earlier shipment of nibbi furniture addressed to the same destination which had been sent between October and November in Singh’s own name.
Meanwhile attorney-at-law Vic Puran told Stabroek News last night that he had been retained to represent Singh but had been prevented from speaking to his client when he visited him at Eve Leary last night.
He saw Singh in the narcotics division, he said, but was told that his client had to be photographed and finger-printed. While he was waiting for this process to finish he was informed by the officer in charge that he had no permission to speak to Singh and therefore had to leave. Puran said he was subsequently told by the duty officer that there was no record of Singh being there and that he must return tomorrow [today]. At this point he was approached and told by the sentry that he had received instructions to “put me out.”
Puran told this newspaper that when the police effected an arrest they had chosen to use legal means, and that “Mr Greene should state whether this is the kind of police conduct the citizenry should expect.”
Stabroek News understands that there is also progress in investigations relating to the two large shipments of cocaine which was found last month in the dividers of cartons packed with pepper sauce. One shipment was intercepted in New Brunswick, Canada, which in turn led to the second bust in St Croix, US Virgin Islands.
Indarpaul Doodnauth for whom a bulletin had been issued turned himself into officials last week, and this newspaper was told he was co-operating with the authorities. His brother, Mahendrapaul Doodnauth had been held in Ontario by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) after the first shipment had been intercepted. The Canadians, Stabroek News was also told, had been seeking assistance in the case from top officials in Guyana.
Sources close to the investigation said that more information was coming to light about other persons involved in the same network, and that CANU was hoping that this might put pressure on them to come in to the authorities of their own volition. Should they not do so, however, their photographs would be published by CANU shortly.
In addition to the bulletin which had been issued for Indarpaul Doodnauth, CANU and the police had earlier issued bulletins for Reginald Rodrigues and Orlando Watson. 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. 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.