Canal farmer gets three years for aiding bid to traffic cocaine in plywood

Rajesh Kissoondyal

A Canal Number Two Polder farmer, who was charged with aiding an attempt to traffic over 100 pounds of cocaine, and offering a bribe of almost $1.5 million to a Customs Anti-Narcotic Unit (CANU) officer for his release, was yesterday sentenced to three years in jail.

Rajesh Kissoondyal called `Paddle’, was charged alongside Shamkumar Hariprashad with attempting to bribe CANU officer, Lyndon Thompson by offering him $1,495,000 for Kissoondyal’s release  on January 5, 2018 at Homestretch Avenue.

The charge against Hariprashad, however, was withdrawn by CANU prosecutor Konyo Sandiford.

When the matter was called before Magistrate Judy Latchman yesterday, the court heard that Kissoondyal wished to change his earlier not-guilty plea to guilty.

The charge was subsequently reread to the accused and he pleaded guilty.

Attorney Mark Waldron, who represented the defendant, told the court that his client wanted to change his plea during his first court appearance before the trial Magistrate but his attorney was not present.

He then requested that the court impose the lesser sentence to his client given his  guilty plea.

Magistrate Latchman subsequently sentenced the accused to three years in jail and fined him $30,000 on the bribe charge.

The accused, Kissoondyal, was also read a charge which stated that he, between April 1st and April 21st, 2016, at Lot 37 Yarrowkabra, Linden-Soesdyke Highway, knowing or having reason to believe that sheets of plywood contained narcotics, to wit 48.554 kilogrammes (107 pounds) of cocaine, handled same with a view to procuring the commissioning of trafficking in the said narcotic.

This charge was before Magistrate Fabayo Azore and was later withdrawn by CANU.

In April, 2016, the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) along with the Port Control Unit were in the process of examining a consignment of plywood destined for Florida in the United States of America when an examination uncovered anomalies. The GRA said that further examination and testing revealed cocaine concealed between the approximately 320 sheets of plywood.

Kissoondyal was arrested in January this year while at a funeral.

 

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