Belgium drug bust: Gov’t halts scrap metal trade

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As a result of the massive Belgian drug bust, in which cocaine was delivered in a container of scrap metal shipped from Guyana with a connection in Guadeloupe, the authorities here have put a halt to the trade.

“I had a meeting with some scrap metal traders who are anxious to get back in business and I said we couldn’t support that decision because new protocols will have to be put into place and some joint arrangement have to come into place between Customs Anti-Narcotics Unit (CANU) and Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) in respect of the surveillance and packing of the containers and the movement of the containers from the place of scanning to the port where they are loaded unto the vessels,” Minister of Home Affairs, Robeson Benn told the media on the sidelines of an event in Georgetown on Monday.

Investigators continue the search for the local shipper, Marlon Primo, who remains in hiding.

Head of the CANU, James Singh, told the News Room that they have requested the assistance of international counterparts in an effort to locate Primo. The CANU Head said while there is no record of him leaving Guyana through any official port of entry, they are exploring every possible option.

“We have not found Mr Primo; we are still looking for him. All efforts are being made to locate him, both international as well as local,” the CANU Head said.

Minister of Home Affairs Robeson Benn [News Room photo/ November 23, 2020]
Primo addresses are listed as 701 Cummings Lodge, East Coast Demerara (ECD) and 69 Atlantic Ville, ECD.

On November 08, a wanted bulletin was issued for Primo, who operates MA Trading. Anyone knowing Primo’s whereabouts is kindly asked to make contact with CANU HQ – 2273507, 2260431.

The three GRA employees and a broker who were arrested in connection with the local investigation have all been released from custody.

The Belgian Times reported the drug bust as the largest in the world with an estimated street value of €900 million.

The ship 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.

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