CANU seeking foreign help to recover info from Zeelugt cocaine DVR

The Customs Anti-Narcotic Unit (CANU) is currently seeking international assistance in an effort to retrieve information that has been “wiped” from a Digital Video Recording (DVR) device that it took into its possession as part of its probe into the almost 85 kilos of cocaine recently found at Zeelugt.

In statement issued yesterday morning, CANU said that the device was retrieved at Vreed-en-Hoop, West Bank Demerara from Nazim Gafoor, one of the men who was initially arrested for questioning in connection with the find.

However, it noted that the device “has been discovered to have been wiped and as such CANU is seeking international assistance in retrieving the data that may have been therein.”

Two Fridays ago, CANU conducted a raid at Zeelugt, East Bank Essequibo during which 84.986 kgs of

Stephen Vieira

cocaine, with a street value of over $550 million, were found in dressed lumber.

In a previous 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.

A truck was hired to pick up and transport the lumber from Lall’s Sawmill 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.

However, the agency had issued wanted bulletins for Tazim, motor biker Stephen Vieira and Narine Lall. Tazim was arrested last Monday at Parika, East Bank Essequibo (EBE) and Vieira was arrested on Thursday evening at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA), Timehri  after arriving on a flight from Jamaica. Vieira was released on Monday after a warrant that was issued for his arrest was recalled by the Chief Magistrate Ann McLennan.

The statement issued yesterday however stated that the suspected girlfriend of Vieira was on Monday afternoon taken to CANU headquarters, where she was questioned before being released. “To date the investigation is still incomplete. None of the persons arrested and interviewed have yet been charged,” it said, while explaining that it would be “expedient” to charge persons only after it has enough evidence to link the parties and the contraband, “all with a view to ensuring a successful prosecution rather than to rush and come up short in the courts.”

The agency is also asking that anyone knowing the whereabouts of Lall contact the nearest police station or CANU on 226-0431.

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