Porter fined $19.7M, sentenced to prison for drug trafficking; alleged supplier freed
One of two men who were reportedly caught with $6.5M worth in cocaine and cannabis was fined and sentenced to jail while the other was found not guilty and freed.
24-year-old Randy Chester, a porter of Kildonan Village, Corentyne Berbice was fined $19.7M and sentenced to three years imprisonment for trafficking 22 kilograms of marijuana and 2.740 kilograms of cocaine on January 16, 2020, at John Fernandes Limited, West Ruimveldt. Chester was represented by Attorney at Law Amora Giddings in the Georgetown Magistrate’s Court.
Christopher Garraway, a 45-year-old bartender and driver was found not guilty and freed after the court found that he was not properly identified as the supplier of the drugs.
The men appeared before Chief Magistrate, Ann McLennan via Zoom on Monday.
After submissions and objections by Garraway’s attorney, Siand Dhurjon, the court found the evidence presented by the Customs Anti-Narcotic Unit (CANU) to be unreliable.
The court found that the CANU rank who testified that he had Garraway under surveillance before on other operations could not be relied upon due to the inconsistencies and suspicions raised in cross-examination done by Mr Dhurjon.
Chester and Garraway were jointly charged in January this year for drug trafficking.
The men were allegedly seen and intercepted by CANU while Chester and others were on their way to Berbice with the narcotics in a large rice fertilizer truck. The truck was searched and 40 parcels of marijuana and two parcels of cocaine were found in two white salt bags.
Chester was found guilty after his incriminating statement where he told CANU officers that he collected the salt bags containing the drugs and loaded them on to the truck for them to be taken to the Berbice Bridge where they would be collected.
CANU then led evidence in the court that Garraway was video recorded at the John Fernandes Ltd after the handover of the drugs to Chester. They led evidence that an identification parade was also done where Garraway was pointed out as being at the scene.
The court found that the video presented of Garraway only showed him from the side and could not be relied upon as proof.
Chief Magistrate McLennan also agreed with Dhurjon’s submissions and found that the identification parade held where Garraway was pointed out by an eye-witness as present at the scene could not be relied upon as it singled out Garraway.
The alleged confession statement by Garraway was also successfully challenged and barred from being put into evidence by the Chief Magistrate.
As a result, the Chief Magistrate then acquitted Garraway of the charge and set him free.
CANU was represented by its attorney, Narissa Leander.
The News Room had reported that the value of the drugs was $12.9M at the time of the incident; however Leander submitted to the court that the street value of the cocaine and marijunana was $6.5M.