The discovery of 72 kilogrammes of cocaine at a house at Block 20 Haslington/Enmore New Scheme, East Coast Demerara has shocked residents, who said the couple that has been arrested had been struggling to make ends meet and there was no indication of illegal activity.
The couple was still in police custody up to press time last evening, while sources said their three children, among them two teenagers, were being cared for by relatives. The children are required to make daily visits to a police station. Sources said police are still looking for another businessman who is the mastermind behind the scheme to export the cocaine in false bottoms of Kunds—a Hindu religious item—to Canada.
A source close to the investigation said that records are being checked to see when shipments of Kunds were made. This newspaper was told that investigators believe that shipments of cocaine have been successfully made to Canada and this is a cause of concern for authorities.
Police yesterday released information on Tuesday’s bust. In a statement, police said that around 3pm, police ranks conducted a search on a house at Block 20, where they found a total of 72 kilogrammes of cocaine concealed in the false bottoms of a number of aluminum Kunds.
The police also found one hundred and twenty-five (125) 12-gauge shotgun cartridges and one hundred and fifty (150) .32 rounds, the statement said.
When Stabroek News visited the area yesterday morning, it was back to normal. The couple’s two-storey house, which is located in an unfenced yard, was locked up and looked deserted except for a dog in a pen at the front. There was a piece of wood barring the front door. This newspaper understands that the door was damaged by the ranks during attempts to gain entry into the building.
Residents said that between 60 to 80 Kunds were removed from the upper flat, which was occupied by the family, and later loaded into three canter trucks by the police. According to one resident, “I is a Hindu and I does use the Kund and suh but meh nah know is so far this thing gone.”
Stabroek News was told that Kunds started arriving at the house about three months ago. They were brought and taken away in cars on a daily basis and, according to residents, the man’s job as far as they knew was to polish the items. They said that he would be at home tending to the items during the day, while his wife would be at the taxi service. They said that the items were not made there.
Residents described the couple as “very, very quiet” and said when the police descended on the area and they later learnt that cocaine was found in the house, they were left in shock. A resident said the couple appeared to be like any other, just trying to survive and take care of their children.
The couple run a taxi service at Lusignan West and the family has been living in the area for about three years. During that time, neighbours said, the family struggled to complete the home.
Stabroek News was told that it was only recently that they managed to enclose the lower flat. The walls are yet to be plastered and there is still a lot of work to be done to complete the structure.
According to the resident, he first noticed several vanloads of police sometime after 3pm. Based on the accounts given to Stabroek News, ranks of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID), acting on a tip off, visited the address on Tuesday morning but no one was at home. The ranks apparently kept a presence in the area until the occupants arrived.
The wife, this newspaper was told, was at the taxi service base around the time the police visited the house and it is unclear where the husband was. This newspaper was told that the woman would usually run the operations at the taxi service and would return home after picking up her children from school in the afternoons.
Meanwhile, this newspaper learnt yesterday that sometime ago the couple missed several bank payments for a loan they had taken to build their house. From all appearances things were still not going well for the couple as they later lost their motor car. The man had rented taxi service base in another section of Lusignan West but later opened his own.
When this newspaper visited the man’s taxi base, it was open but there was no dispatcher.
A young man who was there said he did not know where the dispatcher or the owners were. Persons close to them were surprised when this newspaper informed them that the couple was in police custody after cocaine was found in their home. According to one couple, it is shocking because the couple was in debt.