Airport loaders charged over cocaine on CAL flight

-police dog handler also implicated, court hears

Two airport loaders, accused of concealing cocaine in the vent of the luggage hold of an outgoing Caribbean Airlines flight, were yesterday remanded to prison after being charged with narcotics possession for trafficking.

Eyon Persaud, 25, of Hyde Park, Timehri and Alex Seymour, 20, of 58 Garnett Street, Newtown, Kitty, were brought before Chief Magistrate Priya Sewnarine-Beharry at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Courts, where the prosecutor revealed that a police dog handler was also implicated in the plot.

Persaud and Seymour were charged with having possession of 2.234 kilogrammes of cocaine for the purpose of trafficking on Friday, May 23, at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA). The men pleaded not guilty to the charge.

According to Customs Anti-Narcotic Unit (CANU) Prosecutor Oswald Massiah, both Persaud and Seymour worked with the New Timehri Handling Services as loaders. Another suspect, a Criminal Investigation Department (CID) officer also worked at CJIA as a dog handler.

Last Friday, Caribbean Airlines Flight #BW606 was on the ground loading passengers and cargo destined for Canada when Persaud was reportedly approached by the dog handler. The officer allegedly had an arrangement with both of the defendants that entailed the placement of two packets of cocaine within a garbage bin in the male incoming area washroom. The packets would then be retrieved by Persaud and Seymour.

According to Prosecutor Massiah, the packets were retrieved and both men hid the items on themselves, Persaud in his socks and Seymour in his crotch. The men then went to the aircraft and concealed their respective packets in a vent in the luggage holding compartment of the plane.

Acting on information, a CANU officer on duty at the airport went to the aircraft, carried out a search, and discovered the two hidden packets. The defendants were arrested and shown the items and told of the CANU officer’s suspicions. They were subsequently cautioned and taken to the CANU headquarters where the packets’ contents were weighed and amounted to almost five pounds.

Further investigations were conducted and the men were later charged. Police were also investigating the dog handler’s involvement in the crime, Massiah added.

Last Friday, the CJIA had announced that aircraft had arrived at 12:11 hrs from Port of Spain, with an onward connection to Toronto, Canada. “After all baggage was offloaded from the aft hold, airline security conducted a sweep of the hold as per Standard Operating Procedure (SOP). During the sweep, the drug was discovered,” it said in a statement about the discovery.

Persaud and Seymour were both represented by attorney-at-law James Bond, who noted that the packets had not been found on either of his clients. The lawyer also emphasised that the men denied any involvement in the accused crime.

Magistrate Sewnarine-Beharry remanded the defendants to prison until June 2, when the matter will be called before Magistrate Leron Daly at the Providence Magis-trate’s Court.

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