Stephen Vieira released

Zeelugt cocaine find…

Biker Stephen Vieira, who was arrested last Thursday in connection with the recent discovery of almost 85 kilos of cocaine at Zeelugt, was released yesterday after a warrant that was issued for his arrest was recalled by the Chief Magistrate.

No charges have yet been laid against Vieira, who made an appearance at court with his lawyer, Latchmie Rahamat, before Chief Magistrate Ann McLennan in Georgetown.

During the appearance, Customs Anti-Narcotic Unit (CANU) prosecutor Konyo Sandiford made an application for Vieira’s arrest warrant to be recalled by the court. The request was subsequently granted. The court was reminded that the warrant was issued on May 16 and Vieira was arrested on May 18.

Stephen Vieira (at right) arriving at court with his lawyer, Latchmie Rahamat

Sandiford subsequently told the court that CANU’s investigation into the matter is still ongoing at this point. As a result, the Chief Magistrate told Vieira that he was free to go.

Vieira was arrested last Thursday evening at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport, Timehri after arriving on a flight from Jamaica. He was detained by the police and later handed over to CANU.

CANU, two Fridays ago, conducted a raid at Zeelugt, East Bank Esse-quibo during which 84.986 kgs of cocaine, with a street value of over $550 million, were found in dressed lumber.

In a statement, the agency had said that the drugs were found at the Lot 227 Zeelugt premises of Hakeem Mohamed. The drugs, the statement said, were found in hollow lumber bound for the United States.

CANU had said that its investigation had revealed that the truck was hired to pick up and transport the lumber from Lall’s Saw-mill at Lookout, East Bank Essequibo to a wharf at Georgetown.

Mohamed, of Zeelugt, and Tazim Gafoor and Nazim Gafoor, of Windsor Forest, West Coast Demerara, were held following the discovery but were released after their 72-hour maximum period for detention without charge had expired. Investigators did not apply for an extension to further detain the trio since they had not gathered any new information from them.

Tazim Gafoor was previously placed before the court for attempting to pervert the course of justice last September following the unearthing of over nine kgs of cocaine.

As the investigation of the discovery remains active, CANU is seeking Narine Lall who is wanted for questioning. Lall is said to be out of the jurisdiction.

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