Canadian women held with cocaine in luggage

Two Canadians were discovered with a quantity of cocaine in their luggage at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA), Timehri yesterday morning and later confessed to swallowing pellets containing the substance.

Stabroek News learnt from a CANU source last evening that the 20-year-old and 21-year-old females, outgoing passengers on a Canada-bound Caribbean Airlines flight (BW662) at the time, were held by the Customs Anti-Narcotics Unit (CANU) at approximately 10.30 am.

Searches of the women’s luggage revealed a quantity of “artfully hidden cocaine”, the CANU source said. The Canadians were taken into CANU’s custody and subsequently confessed to swallowing “cocaine pellets”. However, the quantity of cocaine was not known up to press time yesterday.

The women, according to the source, were admitted to a private city hospital and up to early last evening had excreted approximately 70 pellets containing the illegal substance. They are the latest set of Canadians discovered attempting to traffic in narcotics.

Antonietta Saravella, 37; Oronella Saravella, 34; Giovanni Calabrese, 34; and Jean Claude Gouthier, 61; all of Quebec, Canada were discovered on May 12 at the airport with 9 kilogrammes, 89 grammes of cocaine in their possession. The substance was also hidden in their luggage.

The four had appeared before Magistrate Hazel Octive-Hamilton and pleaded not guilty to charges of unlawful possession of narcotics. Octive-Hamilton had transferred the case to the Providence Magistrate’s Court where Magistrate Priya Sewnarine-Beharry subsequently sentenced one member of the quartet to four years and released the others.

Gouthier pleaded guilty to trafficking in over four kilogrammes of cocaine and was sentenced. His co-accused Antonietta Saravella, Oronella Saravella and Calabrese were all released after the charges were withdrawn.

Magistrate Sewnarine-Beharry confirmed on June 3 that the charges against the other three were withdrawn; this was based on the instructions given by the Director of Public Prosecutions.

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