GUYANA: $550M Cocaine bust

(INEWSGUYANA) – The testimony of the key witness in the May, 2017, $550M cocaine bust at Zeelugt, East Bank Essequibo (EBE)  began before Magistrate Rochelle Liverpool at the Leonora Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday

The key witness, Hakeem Mohammed gave his testimony to the Court against the five accused-Tazim and Nazim Gafoor, Sherwin DeAbreu, bike racer, Stephen Vieira and wanted man, Narine Lall- as to his involvement in the trafficking of some 84.9 kilogrammes of cocaine discovered by Custom Anti-Narcotics Unit (CANU) ranks in a shipment of lumber in front of his Lot 227 Zeelugt, EBE premises.

Leading the witness, CANU’s Prosecutor, Konyo Sandiford questioned him in the presence of Attorneys for the accused, Glenn Hanoman, Latchmie Rahamat, Dexter Todd and Nigel Hughes-being represented by another Attorney.

However, in his attempt to halt Mohammed’s testimony, Hanoman made reference to the Evidence Act, section 59, disclosing to the witness that anyone called to give evidence, that will expose him to criminal charges, could refuse to do so.

This did not deter Mohammed from testifying.

He gave his account of the events which led to the discovery of the drugs by the CANU ranks.

Mohammed testified that he was hired by Narine Lall to work at his sawmill in Parika, East Bank Essequibo to assist with electrical issues and machinery.

While there, he testified to seeing various men, including DeAbreu, John Corby, one called “Rasta”, bringing cocaine which were hidden in garbage bags and which were shown to him by Tazim Gafoor at the sawmill.

He also testified that Vieira who they called “white boy” would visit the sawmill to inspect the cocaine operation.

According to Mohammed, the cocaine were all stashed in a special room at the sawmill and later transferred into the lumber which he (Mohamed) used a machine and dug out.

He also testified to assisting Tazim Gafoor and “Rasta”  in stashing the cocaine inside the lumber, highlighting that after it was properly concealed, it was left to be shipped.

However, on the day of the bust, Mohammed explained that his brother drove the truck which contained the lumber with the cocaine, while he drove another truck with five bundles of wood to the Guyana National Shipping Corp (GNIC) dock.

The truck being driven by his brother however, broke down on its way. Mohammed revealed that he later found out from Tazim Gafoor and Vieira that they had document issues and the truck had to turn back.

He noted that on that said day, that is May 12, 2017, the shipment of wood was taken to his residence to be kept when CANU ranks showed up and made the discovery.

Mohammed’s testimony is said to continue on Wednesday.

The five accused were all charged and remanded to prison in May of 2017 with aiding Hakeem Mohamed between March 1- May 12, 2017 in trafficking 84.9 kilograms of cocaine at Narine Lall’s Sawmill at Lookout, Parika.

They were all subsequently granted bail, with the exception of Lall who is still out of the jurisdiction.

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