CANU maintains cocaine loaded onto ‘Matthieu’ at sea; says vessel left Guyana without the narcotics
Following the recent discovery of over 2, 000 pounds of cocaine on the Guyana-registered vessel – ‘Mathieu’ – in the Atlantic Ocean by Spanish authorities, the Customs Anti-Narcotics Unit (CANU) on Thursday maintained that the vessel left Guyana without the illicit substance.
In a statement, CANU said the vessel departed Guyana with the necessary clearance from the Maritime Administration (MARAD).
The drug enforcement body believes the cocaine was loaded onto the vessel at sea.
See the full statement issued by CANU below:
- Guyana is maintaining operational silence, including a media blackout, deliberately as this is an ongoing investigation on both sides of the Atlantic. We can say without fear of contradiction by our international partners that Guyana played an integral part in this operation and continues to be part of the ongoing investigation since it involved a trans-Atlantic drug trafficking network. While the vessel Matthieu is Guyana registered and did not depart from Guyana without getting the necessary clearance from MARAD, there is strong intelligence that the vessel was loaded at sea coupled with the fact that when intercepted, there was equipment on deck that was used in the transfer of heavy cargo while at sea, as seen in other seizures.
- This is one of numerous operations for the year in which Guyana has played a crucial role that has resulted in the seizures of several tonnes of cocaine and the arrests of several individuals. These operations involved the transfer of drugs at sea using vessels that passed through our EEZ, and in one case, the vessel collected cargo in Guyana and was then loaded with cocaine after it departed our waters.
- These operations were all coordinated with international partners, and it is a demonstration of the government’s willingness to work to ensure that the country does not become a transshipment hub for narcotics, as well as the confidence in our law enforcement agencies to do complex operations of this nature.
- Guyana’s reputation as a place to avoid when transshipping drugs grows with every interdiction; these ‘drug busts’ are the best indicator of the true situation of the narco-trade in Guyana, and there is nothing to be gained by public gloating over present victories and possibly revealing information that would be useful to narco-traffickers in their evolving efforts to avoid detection.
- The Government of Guyana remains committed to improving relations with our partner nations in the fight against narcotics trafficking. As a result, the government has dedicated significant resources as well as both demand and supply reduction efforts to effectively address, disrupt, and dismantle these drug trafficking networks, winning the war on drugs one battle at a time.