-CANU says Vieira was under surveillance for three months
An agent from the Drug Enforcement Unit (DEU) of the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) was among four persons who were denied bail at the Leonora Magistrate’s Court today on charges of trafficking in 84.9 kilos of cocaine.
Sherwayne De Abreu, 35, of Liliendaal, East Coast Demerara; motorcycle racer, Stephen Vieira, 33, of Middle and Cummings Sts, Georgetown and motor-racers, Tazim Gafoor, 45, and his son, Nazim Gafoor, 20, of Windsor Forest, West Coast Demerara are scheduled to return to court on June 12 for disclosure of statements and fixture for trial.
The joint charge read by Magistrate Rochelle Liverpool, stated that between March 1 and May 12, 2017 at Zeelugt, East Bank Essequibo the men had in their possession 84.9 kilos of cocaine for the purpose of trafficking and aided one Hackeem Mohamed.
The cocaine, which carried a street value of over $550M, was reportedly stashed in dressed lumber at a sawmill at Lookout, East Bank Essequibo, belonging to Narine Lall.
Lall was not present during the reading of the charge and a warrant has been issued for his arrest.
Reports are that a truck was hired to pick up and transport the lumber from Lall’s Sawmill to a wharf at Georgetown.
On May 12, the Customs Anti-Narcotic Unit (CANU) conducted a raid and found the drugs concealed in dressed lumber at Mohamed’s premises at Zeelugt.
Despite bail applications by attorneys-at-law Mark Conway, Latchmie Rahamat, Everton Singh-Lammy and Stanley Moore, who represented the accused, bail was still denied.
Conway submitted that his client, De Abreu, has been a drug enforcement agent for six years and has no previous conviction. He is married, a father of two, is not a flight risk and at the time of the bust, he was not present.
In her submissions, Rahamat told the court that Vieira, who is the father of a minor child, has an unblemished record and is not a flight risk.
She argued that at the time of the bust, he was in Jamaica for a race that “had been planned months before” and that when he heard that a warrant had been issued for his arrest he “booked a flight and returned.”
She said CANU was informed and he was arrested, placed on self-bail and his passport was lodged.
Rahamat also submitted that the bust was made across the river but her client was never there and that CANU would concede that he was never found with any drug.
Singh-Lammy, who represented Tazim Gafoor, together with attorney-at-law, Glenn Hanoman, said his client has severe allergies and has no knowledge of the allegations.
Moore, who entered an appearance for Nazim Gafoor, along with Singh-Lammy, said this was the first time his client was involved in a matter with the police and that there was no evidence to prove that he was in possession of the drugs.
He presented medical documents to the court from the St. Joseph Mercy Hospital, proving that his client is suffering from an epileptic condition.
The case was heard under tight security by heavily armed CANU agents and was prosecuted by CANU attorney, Konyo Sandiford.
She opposed bail on the grounds of the seriousness of the offence and the possibility that the defendants may not return for trial.
She informed the court that the charge was laid following three months of surveillance of Vieira, which led to him and the others being arrested.
Sandiford said that according to Nazim Gafoor’s medical he was prescribed Dilantin [anti-seizure medication] and a neck brace and that both items can be made available to him.
She also requested time for the intelligence officers to prepare their statements and said 15 witnesses would be on file.