Exporter charged after cops find nearly 90 lbs cocaine in cassareep, seasoning

A city exporter has been charged with trying to ship almost 90 pounds of cocaine in buckets of cassareep, green seasoning and Chinese sauce through the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA).

Dhanshand Balram, 27, of Lot 11 Albert Street, Georgetown, was refused bail yesterday by Chief Magistrate Priya Sewnarine-Beharry at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Court 1, where he was read a charge of possession of cocaine for the purpose of trafficking.

Balram, it is alleged, had 40.405 kilogrammes of cocaine (equivalent to 89.0778 pounds) in his possession on March 19 at the CJIA, Timehri.

Dhanshand Balram
Dhanshand Balram

He pleaded not guilty to the charge.

The police say that at about 1PM on Thursday, Balram went with all the necessary documents to the cargo bank of the CJIA to ship 50 buckets containing cassareep mixed with green seasoning and Chinese sauce. However, acting on information received, ranks arrived and searched the buckets and uncovered a whitish substance suspected to be cocaine.

An application for reasonable bail was made by attorney Gordon Gilhuys, who told the court Balram went to the airport in order to ship molasses and had no knowledge that it contained the cocaine.

The court also heard from the attorney that the ranks who arrested Balram still had US$2,300 and $8,115 local currency in their possession.

Police Prosecutor Michael Grant objected to bail, citing the gravity of the offence. He also pointed out that special reason must be presented to the court for bail to be granted.

Although the magistrate upheld his objection, she did order that the necessary arrangements be made for the currency seized from Balram to be returned.

The case will be heard next on April 8 by Magistrate Judy Latchman.

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