Renewed public confidence seen in CANU – James Singh

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The public has renewed confidence in the Customs Anti-Narcotic Unit (CANU), according to Head of the agency James Singh.

As a matter of fact, the recent seizures of a number of illicit drugs are as a result of people tipping off the security agency, Singh told the News Room on Wednesday.

“We don’t have to go and sneak into a community and look for it [narcotics] as hard as before. Persons are coming forward and saying: ‘people are trying to plant drugs in our backlands’,” Singh contended.

The CANU has been working assiduously to reduce drug trafficking and has prevented the movement of cocaine and marijuana to Barbados, Suriname and the United States.

According to Singh, as of March 8, 2022, 26 kilos (57.3 lbs) of cocaine and 1,600 kilos (3,527 lbs) of marijuana were seized for the year thus far.

“A lot of the marijuana we are seeing were destined for Suriname, some of the cocaine we have seen were destined for Barbados as well as the United States,” Singh explained.

He was keen to note that there has been no international reports of drugs emanating from Guyana for the year so far.

A section of the camp filled with cannabis plants that was destroyed (Photo: CANU)

Meanwhile, he noted that there is an increase in people trying to transport drugs through the airports here. He said this can be as a result of an increase in passenger flights out of Guyana and a reduction in travel requirements.

Recently, people have started to return to the basic methods of drug trafficking, such as the use of food and clothing, but more extensive training for officers has also been attributed to the recent drug busts.

“I don’t know if it desperation, I don’t know if they feel that we are not looking, but our officers have benefitted from a lot more training programmes, a lot more interaction with other agencies both local and foreign.

“We are looking, I don’t want to use the word ‘profile’ but there are systems in place now that we didn’t have before,” Singh explained.

$12 million worth of ganja were seized in January (Photo: CANU)

The CANU head has a message for people who may want to traffic drugs.

“Be smart, don’t be stupid. Don’t be tempted, don’t take packages from persons, don’t get duped.”

The CANU has been working closely with the Guyana Police Force, the Guyana Defence Force, the Coast Guard and other law enforcement agencies the counter the issue of drug trafficking. Singh said it also forms part of the government’s plan to create safe communities, noting that collaboration with other agencies is now stronger that before.

“We all share and we recognise that we have to work together to ensure that communities are not overwhelmed or that Guyana is not listed as a transshipment point for narcotics.”

Meanwhile, 25 persons have been charged, 27 cases were made in the court and there have been eight convictions thus far for 2022. There are currently 69 cases pending.

 

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