Minister of Agriculture Zulfikar Mustapha has requested a detailed report from the Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB) on a cargo ship container of rice from Guyana that was found with a massive stash of cocaine on Monday in Germany.
The Minister, during a virtual media briefing on Tuesday, expressed concern that this can affect Guyana’s international trade.
“I am very concerned like you that those things will affect our export and we would have to put measures in place to avoid future recurrence.
“I have asked the Manager of GRDB to provide me with a detailed report so that I can brief the President,” Minister Mustapha said.
The report should include the details of the shipping company, when the items were shipped and how the cocaine managed to leave Guyana without being detected.
“….those are some of the information we will need and I hope the GM can provide those information so I can brief the relative authorities,” the Agriculture Minister told reporters.
A reported tip-off led police authorities in Hamburg, Germany to seize over €300 million worth of cocaine in the cargo ship container.
This is one of the largest quantities ever seized in the northern German port city, a spokesperson for the Customs Investigations Office said on Monday.
The massive stash was hidden between sacks of rice in the container which came from Guyana, a local newspaper reported.
The container had arrived in Hamburg’s port at the end of June on the 300-meter-long container ship. The container was to be loaded onto a feeder ship together with 11 other transport containers and then ultimately carry the cargo to Poland.
For this purpose, the container was temporarily stored at the Hamburg terminal. Investigators at the Joint Customs and Police Investigation Group had reportedly received a tip-off about drug smuggling. The container in question was then taken to the city’s customs office and examined in a testing facility.
Officers found 47 large packages hidden between the rice sacks and within those packages, a total of 1,277 small parcels with cocaine. The parcels all had various symbols on them, including a cat’s face, the Gallic rooster, and the red and green traffic light symbols shown on pedestrian signals in Germany. Several hundred of the packages were marked with the same logo.