The two baggage loaders, who allegedly loaded nearly five pounds of cocaine on to a flight destined for Canada, remain prisoners on remand following another failed bail application by their lawyer, while charges are yet to be instituted against the dog-handler who was also implicated in the plot.
Eyon Persaud, 25, of Hyde Park, Timehri and Alex Seymour, 20, of 58 Garnett Street, Newtown, Kitty, appeared before Chief Magistrate Priya Sewnarine-Beharry last Tuesday, slapped with a possession of narcotics for the purpose of trafficking charge. According to the charge, the men had 2.234 kilogrammes of cocaine on May 23 at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA). They both pleaded not guilty to the charge.
Before Magistrate Leron Daly at the Providence Magistrate’s Court, where the matter was called yesterday, the men’s lawyer James Bond made a second bail application on their behalf.
Bond pointed out that nothing had been found on either of them, while arguing that the drugs were found in a place on the plane where a multitude of persons had access to, both here and at its previous destination in Trinidad. He added that the only evidence available to the police was that of the statements provided by Persaud and Seymour. However, he said, his clients are contesting these statements.
According to Bond, there were no eyewitnesses who saw the accused put the cocaine into the compartment. He noted that they were also searched before entering the aircraft and nothing had been found on them.
As a result, he requested reasonable bail for both men.
However, his request was denied and the men will remain in police custody until June 30, when another hearing is set.
According to Customs Anti-Narcotics Unit (CANU) Prosecutor Oswald Massiah, both Persaud and Seymour had worked with the New Timehri Handling Services as loaders. Another suspect, a Criminal Investi-gations Department (CID) officer also worked at CJIA as a dog handler.
On the date in question, 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 which 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 5 pounds.
Further investigations were conducted and the men were later charged. Police were also investigating the dog handler’s involvement in the crime, Massiah had added.
However, the man has not so far been charged for his supposed participation.