By Erica Williams
A businessman and a real estate agent were yesterday remanded to prison after being charged over 36 kilos of cocaine and a quantity of ammunition found at a house at Ogle earlier in the year.
Seenarine Singh, 40, of Lot 20 ‘B’ New Road, Vreed-en-Hoop and John Nedd, 59, of Lot 160 Waterloo Street, were charged with drug trafficking and unlawful possession of ammunition.
According to the charge read at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Court, between April 1, 2012 and February 8, 2013, at Ogle, Singh and Nedd had in their possession 36.334 kilogrammes
of cocaine for the purpose of trafficking.
Both defendants pleaded not guilty to the charge.
It was also alleged that on February 8, at Ogle, they had in their possession 18 rounds of .223 ammunition and 19 rounds of 9mm ammunition.
They were not required to plead to this indictable charge.
Singh, who was described by his lawyer as the owner of Guy-Braz Tours and Paul’s Trucking Auto Sales and Spares, and Nedd, who was described as a realtor, were both refused bail by Magistrate Fabayo Azore based on objections made by both the police and CANU prosecutors.
Police Prosecutor Ramsahoye Rambujue told the court that on February 8, the Customs Anti-Narcotic Unit (CANU), acting on information, conducted an exercise at Lot 20 Area ‘H’ Ogle. During this exercise, Rambujue said, a search conducted on the property revealed the items mentioned in the charge.
He said that CANU officers later discovered that Singh is the holder of the Power of Attorney (POA) for the property and although he suggested that Singh was authorised to rent the property to Nedd, who in turn rented the house to someone else, CANU prosecutor Oswald Massiah later identified Nedd as the realtor.
Massiah said that the property located at Ogle is owned by Singh’s sister Anita Chung and her husband, Mervyn Chung, who reside overseas.
He said that prior to Nedd, there was someone else who dealt with the concerns of the property.
He, however, added that it appears that Nedd is familiar with the person whose responsibilities he took over and that there was an arrangement between Singh and Nedd in relation to the rental of the Ogle property.
The court was informed that on February 8, when CANU officers visited the property, the house was locked up. Massiah said that there was a man weeding the yard, who officers spoke with, but he was unable to provide any information in relation to who owned the property. He said that since persons are only seen at the house during the night time hours, neighbours were also unable to provide anything substantial to the officers.
Massiah said that when CANU officers ventured into the yard, it was observed that the house was secured. He added that officers then looked inside of the house through a window when they observed a suspicious package. He added that officers then gained access to the house from the bottom flat and a search was conducted, during which officers discovered the cocaine and ammunition.
Massiah added that contact was made with the owner of the house, who was very cooperative with investigators. Massiah said that through investigations, Singh and Nedd were arrested, interviewed and charged.
Massiah also said that although the house was fully furnished at the time officers visited the property, neither Singh nor Nedd had any documents to prove the house was rented. He added that since the discovery was made, no one came forward to admit to occupying the property.
He objected to bail based on the nature of the charge and the quantity of narcotics found. He also felt that if granted bail, the defendants may not return for trial.
Attorney Haymant Ramdhani, who represented Singh, argued that the charges against his client were unjust.
He said that the charges had no basis and were wrongly instituted, while noting that Singh was never on the premises since he is a busy man and had other things to do.
Ramdhani added that the offence for which Singh was being charged allowed for bail but he asked for his client to be released on his own recognisance.
Attorney Clarissa Riehl represented Nedd and told the court that he is a realtor who rented the property to someone. She noted that he was not there when the drugs and ammunition were found. She also said that her client has never lived at the premises and cooperated with the police in the ensuing investigation.
She added that Nedd, whose passport has been held by CANU officers since February 8, has never had matters in court of such a nature and asked that reasonable bail be granted.
In response to Massiah’s claim that suspicious items were seen which led to officers entering the house and conducting a search, Ramdhani said that he was sure Massiah was not present when the search was conducted and was not in a position to ascertain his statement. He added that it cannot be firmly stated that Singh’s fingerprints or anything to tie him to the articles were found at the scene.
Riehl added that if the CANU ranks were conducting their job the way it ought to be done, they would have stayed at the premises until the evening and apprehended whomsoever went to the premises at that time, instead of holding on to the realtor and the owner of the house, especially since they had reports that persons enter the house at nights.
Despite the lawyers’ arguments, bail was denied and the case was adjourned until October 14, when it will be called again at Court One.