Belgian drug bust: Local authorities encounter explosives at Region 4 house

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The Customs Anti-Narcotics Unit (CANU) and the Guyana Police Force have discovered explosives at a Region Four property as they follow local leads in the massive drug bust in Belgium.

The discovery was confirmed by Home Affairs Minister Robeson Benn Monday morning when approached for an update on the domestic investigations in relation to the 11.5 tonnes of cocaine found in a container which was shipped from Guyana to Belgium.

Benn said a number of raids were carried out over the last two days by law enforcement officials. These raids took them to several houses as they followed local leads.

“Care was taken to enter a particular house because there appeared to be “rigged up” explosives arrangement at the normal entrance to the house,” Benn reported.

He said while the government has given its European, Belgium and American law enforcement officials the assurance of vigorous investigations here, this is testimony to the risks involved.

“The efforts of our law enforcement at CANU and the Police are being attended by risks,” he added.

A concerned Benn told the News Room that he is “extremely alarmed” with the bust and at the fact of the shipment was allowed to pass through Guyana’s surveillance systems.

He said CANU and the police are still coming to terms with the bust and trying to find those who were involved in perpetrating the act.

“The activity could not have happened overnight. It had to be in preparation and planning for a long period of time and taken time to do the logistics… it had to take time to compromise persons and fooling others to make the shipment… this was definitely several months in preparations,” he added.

Four persons have so far been arrested.

Head of the Customs Anti-Narcotics Unit (CANU), James Singh told the News Room that three employees from the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) and a broker were arrested in connection with the huge drug bust.

Detectives are still hunting for the local shipper, Marlon Primo of 701 Cummings Lodge, East Coast Demerara (ECD) and 69 Atlantic Ville, ECD.

Wanted: Marlon Primo [CANU photo]
A wanted bulletin was issued for Primo, who operates MA Trading which is registered at 35 Factory Road, Paradise, East Coast Demerera. Anyone knowing Primo’s whereabouts is kindly asked to make contact with CANU HQ – 2273507, 2260431.

The bust was reported by Belgian Times as the largest in the world.  Federal prosecutors told Belgian media the estimated street value of the drug load is €900 million.

The massive load of cocaine left Guyana on September 25 and was opened in Belgium on October 27.

The illegal substance was disguised as scrap metal and placed inside a steel container which was in turn packed into a sea container and loaded into a transatlantic vessel.

Local authorities found that the ship stopped in Guadeloupe for a few days and are now looking at the container seals to see whether they were changed.

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