A Guyanese man who may have left the country without the knowledge of his family is the latest person from these shores to be charged in the United States with drug trafficking.
31-year-old Joseph Alpha Lewis was slapped with drug trafficking charges on Tuesday in Brooklyn, New York after he was busted at the JFK Airport in Queens, New York with pellets of cocaine in pepper sauce.
According to U.S Special Agent, Shannon McFadden, the defendant arrived on Caribbean Airlines Flight BW524 from Georgetown, Guyana on Tuesday, 12th November and was selected for searches.
The Special Agent said Lewis presented claimed two bags, a brown American Tourister suitcase and a black converse backpack. The court documents revealed that “after answering standard Customs and Border Patrol questions, the defendant stated in sum and substance that he owned the bag and its contents”.
During the examination of the brown suitcase, investigators found a yellow duty-free bag “which contained a package wrapped with newspaper and clear tape”. When the agents opened the package, they discovered a container containing liquid pepper sauce with what appeared to be small objects in it. According to the US Border agents, the defendant took ownership of the pepper sauce also and told the investigators that the small objects in the pepper sauce were tamarind balls.
The small objects were probed and their contents revealed a white powdery substance which tested positively to be cocaine.
The total weight of the cocaine from the man’s suitcase was 6, 589.1 grams. Lewis was represented by a Public Defender and has been remanded to the Metro Detention Centre in New York.
In Guyana, the Customs Anti Narcotics Unit is following reports of the bust. Another investigation may be underway to figure out how the man was able to pass through the Cheddi Jagan Airport with the cocaine laced pepper sauce without being noticed.