A Customs Anti-Narcotics Unit (CANU) operation in Berbice has netted 40 kilogrammes (approximately 82 pounds) of cocaine and five suspects, including a Guyanese-Canadian have been held.
Head of CANU James Singh said that the bust was a joint operation involving CANU, the Berbice Anti-Smuggling Squad (BASS) and the Surinamese authorities as CANU works to strengthen its cooperation with agencies in neighbouring countries.
Singh said too that the operation is ongoing and that at least two more persons are being sought.
He did confirm that the bust occurred at Line Path, Corentyne and that the drugs were found in a speedboat, which CANU had tracked from the North West District, based on intelligence received.
According to reports, the persons arrested were about to drop off the drugs when CANU officers moved in on them.
The drugs were reportedly in 40-1 kg parcels stashed in two bags and it appeared that they were destined for Suriname.
Home Affairs Minister Clement Rohee had said at a news conference held at Freedom House that the seizure occurred some time between Wednesday night and yesterday morning. He said Singh had earlier communicated that bit of information to him.
According to Rohee, the Guyanese-Canadian who was held “was caught before here, put on bail and now he back in the drug trade”.
He noted that this seizure indicates that drugs are still coming into this country but stressed that law enforcement officers are intensifying the fight.
“Everyone recognises that one of the problems we have is porous borders and these people who are involved in this kind of trade will constantly keep working on it to see how they can outfox the state security forces.
That’s their job… but at the same time we have to constantly keep working to see how we could capture them,” Rohee said.
He said law enforcement agencies had to sharpen their tools and more resources and training have to be provided.
“People don’t want to talk the whole story because they don’t want to make the government look good, so they would only talk half,” he stated.
He commended CANU saying that the officers were able to use intelligence effectively in this operation.
This is the second major drug bust in Berbice in as many weeks.
On the night of October 22, CANU seized 30 kilogrammes of cocaine in three buckets in an operation that saw the exchange of gunfire with drug traffickers, who then managed to escape in a boat at the Number 73 beach.
Singh had confirmed to this newspaper that there was an exchange of gunfire between his men and the occupants of a boat. He said while the persons in the boat managed to escape, the ranks seized the drugs, which were in the three buckets. Ten kilogrammes of cocaine were found in each bucket.
Follow-up investigations had led to two men being taken into custody by CANU.
It is now understood that these men have since been released.