CANU on trail of key players in cocaine ring

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CUSTOMS Anti-Narcotics Unit (CANU) agents are looking for more key players in a cocaine smuggling ring uncovered here after the recent big drugs busts in Canada and Miami, officials said.

A wanted bulletin was yesterday issued for Nymrod Singh, 37, of 123 New Road, Vreed-en-Hoop, West Coast Demerara, in connection with the interception of cocaine hidden in nibbi furniture and seized in Miami last week.

The cocaine was stashed in the furniture consignment here and shipment was arranged by a customs broker through a ghost firm, a source said.

Singh is the alleged shipper and had used the same method and broker before, the source said.

CANU agents are also looking for two central figures in the ring believed connected to a pawn shop in Georgetown.

The source said the men of interest to investigators are Robin Barakat, a Canadian citizen, and his business partner Keith King, but no other details on them were immediately available.

The customs broker who arranged the clearance and shipment of the nibbi furniture from Port Georgetown was among several persons in custody and under interrogation.

Also being questioned was the manufacturer of the shipment of furniture from Guyana in which customs authorities at the Port of Miami on Monday uncovered 373 pounds of cocaine.

Acting on a tip-off, the agents found the cocaine in 194 packages, worth US$5.5M, in furniture in a container on the vessel Rio Para.

“The walls of the network are crumbling”, a senior officer said earlier this week, referring to the stepped-up local collaboration with American, British and Canadian agencies in the battle against the illegal drugs trade.

Indarpaul Moninlall Doodnauth, also known as Teddy, 48, a businessman of Lusignan West, East Coast Demerara, and brother of the man charged in Canada after the recent big cocaine bust there, turned himself in to officials this week.

Police had issued wanted bulletins for Doodnauth and Amalek Orlando Watson, 31, a self-employed man of Annandale West, East Coast Demerara. A source said Watson promised to report to officials.

He and Doodnauth were allegedly middle men in the shipment of two consignments of cocaine concealed among pepper sauce bottles from Guyana. They allegedly packed the cocaine into the boxes with the bottles of pepper sauce, the source said.

Police late Monday issued a wanted bulletin for a 55-year-old Albouystown man as the hunt was launched for suspects in the cocaine smuggling network.

A well-placed source said the wanted man, Reginald Rodrigues, owns Rodrigues Tropical Export based at 141 Victoria Street, Albouystown, Georgetown.

He was deported from the United States in 2001 after a three-year sentence in jail for conspiracy to import cocaine, the source said.

According to the source, investigators were also looking for his wife Edna, a swimming coach at the Colgrain Pool in Georgetown.

The two are believed to have slipped into Suriname through the `back track’ route and authorities there have been alerted, an official said.

Police and CANU agents Monday night searched several places in and around the city for suspected members of the cocaine smuggling ring.

The source told the Guyana Chronicle officials here are also on the hunt for another man linked to the second shipment of cocaine hidden among bottles of pepper sauce which was intercepted by American agents last week in the British Virgin Islands.

The cocaine shipment seized by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in the BVI last week was worth CAN$14.5 million.

It was found on a vessel in an operation dubbed Project Falcon by Canadian agencies, including the Canada Border Services Agency and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).

Media reports in Canada said the consignment was destined for Caribbean International Food Distributors, the same company run by a Guyanese man charged by Canadian police in the major CAN$40 million drug shipment earlier last week.

Mahendrapaul Doodnauth, 45, of Seguin Court in Toronto, is charged with importing cocaine, conspiracy to import cocaine and possession of cocaine for the purpose of trafficking.

The second container was searched in St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, on Dec. 24 by DEA agents acting on information received from Canadian investigators, the Toronto Star reported.

Inside the ship, police found 100 kilograms of cocaine hidden inside cardboard dividers in about 140 boxes of food seasoning destined for the Etobicoke-based distribution company run by Doodnauth.

Along with the previous shipment, the amount of cocaine seized totals 376 kilograms, with an estimated street value of CAN$54.5 million.

The second seizure came after police announced one of the largest drug busts in Ontario history on Dec. 23.

The first freight container from Guyana arrived at Saint John, New Brunswick on Dec. 8, where police found 276 kilograms of cocaine. When cut, it would have become approximately 400 kilograms of street-level cocaine, worth CAN$40 million.

That drug shipment was traced back to Guyana where the freight containers shipped out, police said.

Investigators removed all but two kilograms of the cocaine; the controlled shipment was then delivered to its original destination, Caribbean International Food Distributors.

It was received by the company’s owner who unloaded the boxes at a rented storage facility on Rexdale Blvd.

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