Belgium drug bust: GRA, CANU know who deleted scanner images
Thousands of deleted scanner images relating to a container of scrap metal, which left Guyana late September for Belgium and was found there with 11.5 tonnes of cocaine, were shared with the Customs Anti-Narcotic Unit (CANU) which has since managed to pinpoint who deleted the files.
“There is some difficulty because over 50,000 images were provided to CANU. They are trying nevertheless to examine them but for sure it is known who removed the images with the dates and the time,” Minister of Home Affairs, Robeson Benn told the media on Monday at the sidelines of an event at the Lusignan Prison.
According to the Minister the person is now the subject of parallel investigations with CANU and the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA).
The News Room was further told by the Head of CANU James Singh that the person was initially arrested early November along with three others. Three GRA employees and a broker were arrested in November and were all subsequently released.
GRA managed to recover the images earlier this month. Thousands of other deleted files were also recovered, raising serious concerns for the authorities at GRA.
Commissioner General of GRA Godfrey Statia had told the News Room that investigations found that an administrative passcode was used to delete the files, but even more surprising is that the passcode was used by multiple persons.
The files were retrieved using local resources but the process was timely. The modern high tech scanner was donated by the Chinese government with specific features to detect drugs and other illegal items.
In the meantime, CANU continues the search for the local shipper, Marlon Primo of 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 – 227 – 3507 or 226 – 0431.
CANU has also requested the assistance of international counterparts in an effort to locate Primo. Even though there is no record of him leaving Guyana through any official port of entry, every possible option is being explored.
Local detectives, during the initial investigation, also discovered explosives at a Region Four property.
CANU have also being receiving support from the Belgium authorities as it relates to the sharing of information regarding the seizure.
“The Belgiums are proceeding with their investigation, there was a former head of the Belgium Narcotics Division who was being sought and some examination were recently made in other parts of the country with respect to trafficking routes, that is where we are at the moment,” Minister Benn explained.
The Belgian Times reported the drug bust as the largest in the world with an estimated street value of €900 million. The shipment 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.