DEA office for Guyana awaiting U.S Approval

DEA office for Guyana awaiting U.S Approval

United States Ambassador to Guyana Brent Hardt has indicated that his country is still very interested in having an office of the U.S Drug Enforcement Agency in Guyana but the move is awaiting approval back in Washington.

Speaking to reporters on Thursday at the U.S Embassy in Georgetown, Ambassador Hardt said “its a matter of getting the approval on the U.S side really because as you might have heard, we have had quite a bit of budgetary constraints in the U.S, so the past few years we have been under sequestration, so anytime you open a new office or anything like that, there is additional costs and when your agency is under freeze that makes it quite difficult”.

There has been talk about the United States having a DEA office set up in Guyana for the past several years. Though there is no DEA office however, there is a presence of the agency through the Trinidad and Tobago office.

“Certainly we have a DEA presence here in Guyana. We are covered by the DEA office in Trinidad and that has been the situation for some time”, the Ambassador said.brent-hardt

He noted also that the DEA continues to work closely with the Police and other Law Enforcement Authorities in Guyana. The Diplomat explained that “excellent relations” exist and have been going on for some time. According to Mr. Hardt, although there is no physical office in Guyana, there are DEA officers who would be in Guyana regularly working with the local agencies to build cases against major traffickers.

Mr. Hardt explained that since his arrival in Guyana, he has made it a priority to see the setting up of a DEA office in the country and moves have been made to ensure that happens. He has been serving as the U.S representative in Guyana for close to three years.

On Tuesday in the U.S Eastern District Court of New York, a number of persons were charged in connection with a major drug trafficking and gun smuggling ring that involved the United States, Italy and Guyana. Court documents reveal plans by the drug cartels and mafia to ship over one thousand pounds of cocaine to Italy from Guyana via the United States in frozen food and containers.

The U.S in its many State Department reports has highlighted concerns about Guyana being used as a drug transshipment point for cocaine destined for the North America, Europe and Africa.

The latest ¬†links between U.S drug lords and drug pushers in Guyana has triggered a call by Guyana’s President on his Home Affairs Minister to seek the U.S help in getting information about the involvement of persons in Guyana in the latest drug ring. The U.S Ambassador has since indicated that the Government of Guyana would be aware of the procedures to be employed by law enforcement agencies to get the information since it is currently before the U.S Justice Department.

The U.S Ambassador said “the drug business is an international business and it is adaptable, flexible and is a multi national business and whether it is Mexican, Colombian or other cartels, they operate on a global basis and so it does not surprise us at all that wherever they could find a place to operate from, they will”.

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