Two siblings were yesterday charged over the discovery of cocaine in frozen fish at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA) last week and a third person was charged with attempting to pervert the course of justice after he allegedly attempted to secure the release of the drugs.
Shafaur Alli, 27, of Lot 11 La Jalousie, West Coast Demerara (WCD) and Lazeena Imrazi, 22, of Lot 80 Goed Fortuin, West Bank Demerara were charged with possession of cocaine for the purpose of trafficking and were remanded to prison. It is alleged that on June 8 at the CJIA, Alli and Imrazi had in their possession 9.444 kilogrammes of cocaine for the purpose of trafficking. The duo pleaded not guilty after they were read the charge by Chief Magistrate Ann McLennan at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Courts.
A third person, Tazleem Gafoor, 43, a businessman of Lot 39 Menzies Street, Windsor Forest, WCD, was charged with attempting to pervert the course of justice in connection with the said matter. He pleaded not guilty and wasplaced on $200,000 bail.
Attorney Peter Hugh appeared for Alli and Imrazi and according to him, the prosecution has no evidence that either of his clients had knowledge of the narcotics being in the fish. Hugh said that Ali and another party own a fish farm and the fish had to be exported. However, despite being a co-owner of the business, Ali had nothing to do with the packaging of the fish, Hugh submitted.
Police Prosecutor Deniro Jones objected to bail being granted. He said both defendants, upon arrival at the airport, declared 33 boxes of fish to be exported. When Customs Anti-Narcotics Unit (CANU) officials searched the boxes, they found the illegal substance in the fish. Jones further noted that apart from the discovery, Imrazi had given her address as Lot 11 La Jalousie to the police which conflicted with the address that she gave to the court.
Attorney Bernard DaSilva, who also represented Imrazi, told the court that the La Jalousie address was where her parents lived and the Goed Fortuin address is where she currently resides since she recently bought an apartment in the village. DaSilva also told the court that on the day his client was arrested, the police held ten other people at the airport but later released them and only charged the brother and his sister.
The chief magistrate subsequently remanded Imrazi and Alli to prison and adjourned the matter until July 7.
Meanwhile, in relation to Gafoor, the court heard that on June 8 at Craig, East Bank Demerara, he allegedly attempted to pervert the course of justice by securing the release of narcotics seized by the police. He pleaded not guilty.
Attorney Glenn Hanoman entered an appearance for Gafoor and he said that his client has been in police custody for days for an offence that is bailable. The attorney said that the police insisted on detaining his client though he told them that it was unlawful.
According to Hanoman, he said that the police told him to “tell the court” when he told them about the injustice meted out to his client. He said that bail should be granted to Gafoor since the police have no evidence against him. The attorney later told the court that Gafoor’s charge stemmed from an alleged telephone call between him and a police rank.
Jones objected to bail based on the gravity of the offence. According to Jones, Gafoor is one of the masterminds behind several shipments of illegal narcotics from Guyana. The prosecutor also told the court that bail should not be granted because he is fearful that the defendant may influence witnesses in the matter. He later explained that the police caught Gafoor during a sting operation. Jones further told the court that investigations are still ongoing.
The chief magistrate subsequently granted Gafoor bail in the sum of $200,000 and adjourned the matter to July 6.