GEORGETOWN, Guyana (GINA) -- On Tuesday, the Drug Enforcement Unit (DEU) of the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) made the largest drug bust in the history of Guyana, when a total of 359.8kg was discovered in a shipment of lumber destined for the Netherlands.
On January 17, 2013, a customs declaration was presented to the DEU by a representative of Guyana Timber Products to be processed for the exportation of seven containers of mats of hardwood (MHW). On January 21, 2013, the shipment was inspected and certified by the Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC) and issued with the relevant certification by that agency.
Subsequently, the commercial invoice, timber marketing certificate, export certificate and the general system of preferencing certificate of origin were submitted to the GRA for the shipment of seven containers.
However, on January 30, 2013, whilst the containers were being scanned anomalies were observed and three containers were determined as requiring a secondary examination out of a total of seven that were scheduled to be exported. It was determined that the images were not in keeping with the information contained on the relevant documentation, which clearly indicated that the content of the containers were the MHW. Among the contents of one of the containers were blocks of hardwood. The GRA’s standard operating procedures require its staff to establish that the contents in the containers are in keeping with what is contained on the export forms.
Upon examination, officials of the DEU (which unit is mandated to combat the trafficking of narcotics, survey and monitor exports at the various ports in Georgetown) noted that there were discrepancies in the physical content and colour coding of some of the logs. Having confirmed that those were the logs that presented the anomalies, instructions were given for one of the logs to be drilled. This resulted in the discovery of a white powdery substance, which was tested and revealed to be cocaine. The logs numbering eight were pried open in the presence of officials from CANU, DEU, GFC and the shipping agent.
Each plank, with the exception of one, contained a total of 40 bricks. At the completion of the examination a total of 314 bricks of cocaine were discovered.
The GRA is continuing its investigation of any possible involvement by external agencies and the exporter in attempting to conceal the substance in the logs.