…smuggling ring involving bikes suspected
INVESTIGATORS have reportedly cracked a gun-smuggling ring involving big bikes, following a discovery of guns and ammunition in a barrel on a popular wharf in the city on Tuesday.
The Guyana Police Force (GPF) was summoned to the Guyana National Shipping Corporation (GNSC) wharf at Lombard Street, La Penitence, Georgetown, after two guns, a
GLOCK 45 pistol and a GLOCK 47 pistol, and a box of matching ammunition were found concealed in the engine of a CBR motorcycle. The motorbike was in a barrel at the time of the discovery. That barrel was reportedly addressed to Shenella Welcome of Lot 42 West Ruimveldt, Georgetown.
A source close to the investigation told the Guyana Chronicle that the shipment had arrived in the country last week, but it was only this week that OG Shipping and Delivery Service had acquired the requisite documents from the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) to clear its shipment of barrels.
OG Shipping and Delivery Service, located at Lot 7, Public Road, La Penitence, ships barrels and other containers to Guyana for its customers utilising the GNSC wharf.
The barrel with the contraband was scheduled to be delivered to Welcome’s West Ruimveldt residence, but not before it was cleared by Customs. “It was a door-to-door delivery,” the source told this newspaper.
According to the source, when the barrel was opened around 11:00hrs on Tuesday by Customs in the presence of Welcome, and a search conducted, the contraband weapons and ammunition were
discovered. Officers from GRA’s Drug Enforcement Unit, which has an office on the wharf, were also present when the discovery was made. It was following the discovery that police investigators were called in. Welcome was taken to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) to assist with the investigation.
According to a source, enforcement authorities have been trying to crack the case for some time now. “It is a big ring smuggling guns in bikes, and most of them end up at a known carwash on Mandela Avenue. So we have been tracking these movements,” the source explained.
It is believed that the U.S. Embassy has been contacted for assistance in the investigation in an effort to trace the origin of the guns.
When this newspaper visited the GNSC wharf, authorities there distanced themselves from the discovery. “Customs deal with it! Our employees had nothing to do with that,” Head of Admin, Pauline Goodridge, posited. Tight- lipped on the situation, Goodridge wasted no time in directing the Guyana Chronicle to OG Shipping and Delivery Office.
Over at O.G Shipping, business was in full swing. A company representative there told this newspaper that he was out of the district at the time of the discovery, however, he was told that the barrel was sent to Guyana from Brooklyn, New York.
The information provided by an officer appeared sketchy as it contradicted greatly with information provided by a source working closely with the investigation. However, according to the OG Shipping employee, the barrel had arrived in Guyana since last year and it was only on Tuesday that a woman came to uplift it. According to him, the barrel was sent to a man, but a woman came instead. When asked to speak with the person in charge at the shipping company, the employee said that person, whom he identified as “Shenella,” was at the Police Headquarters assisting with the investigation.
When the Guyana Chronicle visited CID, officers there refused to speak on the matter; a request to speak with Crime Chief Wendell Blanhum was also denied.
Last February, a Guyanese, who had resided in Georgia, was sentenced to five years in a federal prison after pleading guilty to smuggling dozens of guns to Guyana.
According to the Associated Press, federal prosecutors in Atlanta said 39-year-old Jermine Prosper, who lived in Conyers, legally purchased about 50 guns in Atlanta and smuggled them in shipping barrels to Guyana, where they were sold on the streets. According to the prosecutors, Prosper bought the guns between October 2013 and November 2015. They included 34 x 9 mm pistols, eight x.380-calibre pistols and six x.25- calibre pistols.