BELGIAN authorities have discovered 11.5 tonnes of cocaine with an estimated street value of over €900 million hidden in scrap metal transiting from Guyana with Belgian authorities describing it as the “largest overseas drug bust.”
Demerara Waves reported that the Head of Guyana’s Customs Anti-Narcotics Unit (CANU) James Singh said the containers left Guyana on September 25.
They were discharged in transit at Pointe-a-Pitre, Guadeloupe on September 28 where they remained until October 3. They then left on a vessel direct to Zeebrugge in Belgium arriving on October 15.
Singh said the broker has been arrested and investigators are looking for the shipper, Marlon Primo who is the brother of well-known Guyanese singer, Jomo “Rubber Waist” Primo.
The container was scanned in Guyana before leaving aboard a cargo vessel, but Singh said he has not yet seen the images and that investigators were trying to determine whether the shipping container had the same seals that they left Guyana with.
Demerara Waves also reported that Guyana’s Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo questioned if the container was inspected and also its departure date reported by Belgian authorities.
Jagdeo said, “We are glad that it’s intercepted and we have to now go after all those people; go back and find all of those people who are involved including from what I have been told but I don’t know if its factual because I got this report that the container might have been flagged for inspection and it was never inspected so it seems there was heavy local involvement and we intend to get to the bottom of it.”
Jagdeo added that United States Ambassador Sarah-Ann Lynch had raised concerns with him that the scanners at Port Georgetown had not been working and since then two were installed, Demerara Waves reported.
The Brussel Times reported that Belgian authorities had been investigating a drug gang led by a former Belgian police chief.
Three police officers, a port manager and a lawyer were among some 20 other criminals arrested as part of the operation targeting the “well-structured” criminal organisation suspected of orchestrating large and “regular” drug shipments from South America to Belgium, The dismantlement of the drug gang in late September led to the arrest and indictment of 22 people, with three people still in the Netherlands awaiting extradition. Following the drug bust on Wednesday, three others were arrested, including one person who is facing extradition to Belgium from the Netherlands, the Brussel Times reported.