$509M worth of drugs seized in the first three months of 2024


The Customs Anti-Narcotic Unit (CANU) has reported a significant seizure of drugs worth $509 million for 2024 thus far. The seized drugs include 118kg of cocaine and 1,301kg of cannabis.

In 2023, CANU confiscated 75kg of cocaine and 1,288kg of cannabis, amounting to a total street value of $461 million. However, in the first three months of 2024, the unit surpassed the total street value of narcotics seized in 2023, indicating CANU’s increased success in combating drug trafficking in Guyana.

Head of CANU, James Singh, highlighted the importance of public cooperation to their operations.

“We always welcome members of the public calling in and sharing information that can help us do our job,” Singh told the News Room on Monday.

He also addressed complaints that the drugs seized were meant to be distributed in Guyana and reminded that Guyana is a transshipment point in the region.

“I have seen recently some persons complaining that this large amount of seizure that we have found is an indication that drugs are passing through or drugs are coming into Guyana, I need to remind that Guyana is a transshipment point, a lot of the narcotics coming in is going to other regions,” Singh said.

Head of CANU, James Singh (Photo: News Room/March 18, 2024)

Meanwhile, Singh lamented that when suspects are arrested, their legal representatives advise them to remain silent. This, he explains makes it challenging for CANU to carry out its mandate in dismantling drug operations.

“All too often we arrest persons and those representing them are saying don’t say anything remain silent. You can’t expect me to do my job when you are also supposed to be helping us but then you tell your clients don’t say anything.”

While it is within the suspect’s rights to remain silent, Singh said “If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem” stating that citizens also have a right to live in a safe country.

CANU is currently working with international counterparts to arrest Gavin McKie, who is wanted in connection with the recent multi-million dollar drug seizure at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA).

“We are still waiting on him to come in, we understand that he is out of Guyana, we are working with our colleagues to arrest him,” Singh said.

In the meantime, foreign countries such as the US have expressed interest in extraditing suspects but Singh said it will have to wait until their cases are completed here.

“Before anyone leaves Guyana, we will put them through the judicial process here and when we are finished with them, whoever is interested can apply,” Singh explained.

So far, four persons from Georgetown have been requested for extradition.

“Persons who would have been recently arrested are persons of interest in other territories in the past, but also persons who would have been recently charged by CANU are linked to previous shipment within the last year in overseas territories, so we are speaking without counterparts to see if they have more information to help with our cases here or overseas,” Singh said.


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