Four men and a 15-year-old lad were charged on Thursday after they were allegedly caught with guns, ammunition and dried cannabis near a cannabis farm on Wednesday at Canje Creek, Berbice.
One of the men, Lloyd Samuels, 26, of Bagotville, West Bank Demerara, pleaded guilty to charges of possession of a firearm without being the holder of a firearm licence and possession of narcotics for the purpose of trafficking, for which he received four years on each count from Magistrate Renita Singh at the Reliance Magistrate’s Court. He also pleaded guilty to cultivating a prohibited plant, for which he was sentenced to three years.
Samuels pleaded not guilty to a separate charge of possession of ammunition without being the holder of a firearm licence.
Charged alongside Samuels were Kembleton Dorway, 42, of Lot 177 Cumberland Village, East Canje Berbice, Vickram Balgobin, 26, of Lot 19 New Street, Cumberland Village, Damion Peters, of 14 Pitt Street, New Amsterdam, and the 15-year-old.
Dorway, who pleaded not guilty to the charges, was remanded to prison, while Peters and Balgobin were each asked to post $200,000 bail on each of the charges against them in order to be released pending their trial.
Meanwhile, the 15-year-old lad was granted $50,000 bail on each of the four charges. Initially, the lad was granted $100,000 bail on each charge but his attorney, Horatio Edmondson, successfully applied for it to be lowered since his mother could not afford the initial amount. In granting the reduction, Magistrate Singh told the lad’s mother that she was responsible for ensuring that he appeared on his court dates.
The quintet was arrested after a Joint Services operation at Ekura Creek, Canje River on Wednesday resulted in the seizure of five shotguns, a pistol and three live rounds along with twelve kilogrammes (26.4 pounds) of dried cannabis and a five-acre plot of cannabis cultivation.
Police said a team of 14 ranks, including a senior officer from the Guyana Police Force and one from the Guyana Defence Force, initially discovered two camps with several occupants at Ekura. However, the occupants were able to escape into the thick vegetation, leaving behind three single- barrel shotguns.
Several miles further up the creek at Wakie, Ekura, the ranks descended on two more camps with six males, including the 15-year-old. They were all arrested with the exception of one, who managed to escape.
A search of the second set of camps revealed a 9 mm pistol with three live rounds, two single-barrel shotguns, and the processed cannabis. Also found several metres from the camps was the cannabis farm, with plants ranging from one inch to three inches in height.