Benn remains confident in cocaine testing equipment despite Fernleaf mix-up
Minister of Home Affairs Robeson Benn says he remains confident in the testing capabilities of the Customs Anti-Narcotics Unit (CANU) as it relates to illegal drugs despite a huge mix up recently between Fernleaf milk and cocaine.
In a shocking twist of events recently, the Guyana Police Force had no choice but to release two suspects they accused of attempting to traffic cocaine in several milk packets when further tests confirmed that the item was actually milk.
Minister Benn told reporters at the sidelines of an event at Eve Leary in Georgetown on Monday that it was an unfortunate incident.
“This is a universal test, if you go to Canada or the United States it is the same test and they will follow the same routine in terms if material turns up blue,” Minister Benn told reporters at the sidelines of an event at Eve Leary in Georgetown on Monday.
The milk packets were seized on August 16 from an outgoing female passenger at the Eugene F. Correia International Airport, Ogle, following a search that found 10.7 pounds (4.873 kg) of suspected cocaine in her luggage. She was bound for Barbados on Caribbean Airlines Flight BW 217.
The minister said initial testing at the airport found cocaine in the milk.
“The test or initial screening test in respect of cocaine is that the substance be placed in a vial with a chemical, it is shaken and if it turns up blue it is perhaps more likely than not cocaine,” the minister explained.
He stated the milk turned blue when it was tested first and was sent for further forensic analysis.
“Surprisingly, the Fernleaf brings up the blue colour and therefore it had to be further referred to in respect to determine whether indeed it was cocaine.”
The security minister said this is the first time something of this nature has happened and that it was unfortunate. He said the police had a responsibility and acted in the only way they could.
Going forward, Benn said the initial testing will continue to be implemented but the forensic analysis will have to be done in a timelier manner.
“…but if the person has to be pulled from a flight or whatever that will be done.”
Minister Benn said he is not aware as to whether the victims have met with the police for compensation or an apology.