Guyana recorded highest seizure of cocaine in 10 years
The Guyana Police Force is recording the highest cocaine seizure in over 10 years.
A total of 536.3 kg or 1,182 pounds of the illegal drug have been seized for the year thus far. The lowest recorded seizure of the illegal drug – 11.1kg or 24.5 pounds – was recorded in 2018.
In May this year, the Police Force discovered 453 kg or 998.6 pounds of cocaine on board a foreign aircraft that made an emergency landing in Orealla, Region Six. Two Brazilian nationals – Salim Nobrega De Alimser and Andre Pereira – who were on the aircraft, were remanded to prison for drug trafficking and illegal entry.
According to the Deputy Commissioner of Police for Law Enforcement Wendell Blanhum, who also serves as the Crime Chief, in recent years drug traffickers have been using small aircraft to transport and smuggle cocaine.
“Recently, we found another aircraft in Mahdia and we will continue to work with the Civil Aviation Department and other joint services agencies to ensure we combat this scourge of drug trafficking,” Blanhum said during the launch of the Police Force’s Christmas Policing Plan on Monday.
Blanhum revealed that there has been an increase in the prosecution rate for persons charged with trafficking cocaine.
“Persons charged for cocaine this year, we increased our prosecution rate; 374 persons were placed before the courts,” Blanhum stated.
In regions Six (East Berbice – Corentyne) and Ten (Upper Demerara-Berbice), 93.5 acres of cannabis were destroyed. A total of 112 cannabis fields were also discovered.
Meanwhile, the country has recorded an overall 19.4 per cent decrease in serious crimes. Blanhum said the lowest murder rate and highest clear-up rate for murders were also recorded as well as the lowest number for all categories of robberies.
This is as a result of enhanced intelligence gathering capabilities such as intelligence-led operations and sting operations. The full command and control of the CCTV Centre on a 24-hour basis is also attributed to the decrease in crime.
Blanhum further revealed that the real-time monitoring and information gathered from the CCTV Centre has proved successful in combating crime despite a shortage of human resources.
“We have also managed to secure images of persons committing serious crimes and those images from the command center were utilised during our court prosecution sessions,” Blanhum said.
With all the successes in reducing the high crime rate in the country, Blanhum explained that they are still faced with several challenges such as repeat offenders being granted bail. He said there is an insufficient number of investigators to cover the entire country. Some the force lost to retirement and “a few of them we had to put before the court and then we would have transferred some of them for disciplinary infractions.”
Additionally, officers of the force also left the job for other employment opportunities. Specifically, Blanhum stated that US$100,000 was invested to train a dog handler in the United States, but upon return to Guyana, the handler left the Police Force.
To this end, the Police Force will be implementing a policy to have these persons who are sent on specialized training to sign contracts with the Force.
Another challenge has to do with police witnesses who absent themselves from court resulting in the matters being dismissed.
There are also other instances where a few ranks were found to be involved in criminal acts.
In the meantime, Blanhum said the police would continue with roadblocks at strategic locations and heavy presence at checkpoints along with anti-crime patrols to combat crime.