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255 Lbs Of Cocaine Passes Through Customs Unnoticed

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The customs department of the Guyana Revenue Authority and local police have launched an investigation into just how customs officers responsible for the examination of containers missed 6 large bags which contained over 225 pounds of cocaine in a container of wood that was shipped from Guyana and busted upon the arrival in Jamaica. The cocaine has a street value of over $700 million Guyana dollars.

Officials in Jamaica reported that the cocaine arrived in the container aboard the transshipment vessel, Vega Azur.

In Guyana customs officials have not been saying much. The customs department of the Guyana Revenue Authority is solely responsible for the examination of all containers and shipments out of Guyana via sea. That responsibility was originally borne by the customs anti narcotics unit but was taken away last year when the government made the decision to remove CANU officers from all wharves and have them focus their attention on other exit points.

The move was heavily criticized at the time by some security officials here.
Just recently, the GRA put a new container scanner in place but it is unclear whether the equipment is fully operational. Customs officers were trained on its use but then there were some problems as to who should monitor the scanner. Reports indicate that that customs wanted to hire more people to do the monitoring and have the trained officers relocated to another area.

Security sources say GRA officials should be made to answer a number of questions with regard to the monitoring of containers and whether it really has the ability to get the job done. The same official pointed out that when CANU was present at the wharves there was stricter monitoring especially in the past few years leading up to its eventual removal.

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