Thursday, January 15, 2009

President Jagdeo again urges more international support for drugs fight

GC news item, Thursday 08 January 2009
President Jagdeo again urges more international support for drugs fight
By Sharief Khan
"I am very pleased with the success that we have had in collaboration with
the international community (but) I still feel we need more support for our
drugs fighting efforts" - President Jagdeo
PRESIDENT Bharrat Jagdeo yesterday welcomed the collaboration that led to
the recent seizure overseas of more than 500 kilos of cocaine shipped from
Guyana but said the United States, Canada and other developed countries have
to do more to aid the fight here against drugs traffickers.
"I am very pleased with the success that we have had in collaboration with
the international community (but) I still feel we need more support for our
drugs fighting efforts", he said at a press conference at his office in
He said local agencies need more equipment, training and a whole range of
assistance from the developed world in the drugs fight, noting that the
collaboration has worked well.
A local official yesterday bemoaned the delay in requests for information
from American and Canadian agencies in the recent big busts in Canada and
the U.S. He said investigators here had to release a suspect because they
had not received information requested on the man from the Canadian and
American agencies.
Mr. Jagdeo said the policy of the developed countries is counter-productive,
especially in deporting convicted drugs offenders to places like Guyana.
He said the developed world wants countries like Guyana to do more in the
battle against drugs trafficking but insists on sending high-profile and
other traffickers here and to other countries.
"While we welcome the partnership and continue to work together with our
international partners, there are always these dimensions", he said.
The recent interception by Canadian and American agencies of cocaine shipped
from here and the resulting media publicity are apparently fuelling the heat
on central local players who still have to pay suppliers for the seized
consignments, one source said.
The source said they are tracking a West Demerara businessman who is a known
major drugs dealer and has been implicated in the recent shipments.
Some of those under questioning by Customs Anti-Narcotics Unit (CANU) agents
and police are among local buyers of cocaine from suppliers in Colombia and
Venezuela, the official said.
Those being questioned include Robin Barakat, a Canadian citizen named as a
suspect and who turned himself in to CANU Monday. A source said the
37-year-old gave his name as Salim Paul and was accompanied by attorney Vic
Puran when he turned up.
The source said he admitted owning a pawn shop in Georgetown and knowing
Indarpaul Moninlall Doodnauth, another suspect is being questioned by
investigators but denied involvement in shipping cocaine to Canada.
Barakat's business partner Keith King also turned himself into CANU, the
source said.
An official said police have questioned Barakat about a shipment of cocaine
that was intercepted last year in Jamaica.
Doodnauth, also known as Teddy, 48, a businessman of Lusignan West, East
Coast Demerara, and brother of the man charged in Canada after the recent
big cocaine bust there, turned himself in to officials last week.
Police had issued wanted bulletins for Doodnauth and Amalek Orlando Watson,
31, a self-employed man of Annandale West, East Coast Demerara.
Doodnauth and Watson were allegedly middle men in the shipment of two
consignments of cocaine concealed among pepper sauce bottles from Guyana.
They allegedly packed the cocaine into the boxes with the bottles of pepper
sauce, the source said.
A central suspect, Nymrod Singh, 37, of 123 New Road, Vreed-en-Hoop, West
Coast Demerara, was held Saturday by police in Bartica and has been grilled
by CANU and police officers.
Singh was wanted in connection with the interception of cocaine hidden in
nibbi furniture seized in Miami last week and shipped on behalf of the West
Coast Demerara businessman, sources said.
The 373 pounds of cocaine were stashed in the furniture consignment here and
shipment was arranged by a customs broker through a ghost firm, a source
Police and CANU agents are also looking for Reginald Rodrigues, 55, who owns
Rodrigues Tropical Export based at 141 Victoria Street, Albouystown,
He was deported from the U.S. in 2001 after a three-year sentence in jail
for conspiracy to import cocaine, the source said.
According to the source, investigators are also looking for his wife Edna, a
swimming coach at the Colgrain Pool in Georgetown.
A cocaine shipment seized by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)
in the U.S. Virgin Islands last week was worth CAN$14.5 million.
Media reports in Canada said the consignment was destined for Caribbean
International Food Distributors, the same company run by a Guyanese man
charged by Canadian police in the major CAN$40 million drug shipment earlier
last week.
Mahendrapaul Doodnauth, 45, of Seguin Court in Toronto, is charged with
importing cocaine, conspiracy to import cocaine and possession of cocaine
for the purpose of trafficking.
The second container was searched in St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, on Dec.
24 by DEA agents acting on information received from Canadian investigators,
the Toronto Star reported.
Inside the ship, police found 100 kilograms of cocaine hidden inside
cardboard dividers in about 140 boxes of food seasoning destined for the
Etobicoke-based distribution company run by Doodnauth.
Along with the previous shipment, the amount of cocaine seized totals 376
kilograms, with an estimated street value of CAN$54.5 million.

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