Drug Enforcement Authorities in the United States and Guyana have been stepping up their cooperation to fight drug trafficking between the two countries.
Over the past six months, there have been several arrests and seizures of cocaine belonging to passengers travelling between Guyana and the United States. The drug busts have been made on both sides.
In a recent interview with News Source, Charge d’ Affaires at the US Embassy, Bryan Hunt explained that on many occasions the drug enforcement agencies would act on intelligence and based on that intelligence they would decided whether it is better to make the bust in Guyana or in the United States.
“Often times, a strategic decision is taken as to whether it should be seized at this end or at that end and that is dependent upon who is able to make the better case and ensure a conviction of the trafficker”, Hunt said.
He noted that the fact that some mules are arrested in the US after passing through Guyana’s Cheddi Jagan airport points to the strategic law enforcement decisions and not the lack of cooperation between drug enforcement agencies on the two sides.
The US official said despite the successes in tackling the trafficking of drugs between the two countries, there is still more that could be done in Guyana and in the countries where the cocaine is manufactured.
Hunt said the US government has been making efforts to boost Guyana’s capacity to better tackle the drug trafficking problem especially in interior regions.
The United States Embassy here in Georgetown is currently in the process of hiring American nationals to carry out the work of the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) in Guyana.
The DEA already has personnel working out of the Embassy in Georgetown. News Source understands that the US government intends to have a permanent DEA staff set up at the embassy.
Guyana continues to work along with the Trinidad based DEA office. It was announced in June 2014 that the US through its local embassy would set up an office here.
Guyana had been pressing the United States for years for more assistance in the narcotics fight.
Most recently it was noted that the DEA was lending assistance to the Customs Anti-Narcotics Unit (CANU) as the probe continues into the discovery of a semi submarine vessel in Guyana’s Waini river.
The Government of Guyana has repeatedly called on the United States to do more in the drug fight in Guyana since the US often appears as the destination of choice for the illegal substance passing through the country.
The commitment from the US has been forthcoming in this regard.
The DEA office is expected to be working closely with the local Customs Anti Narcotics Unit and the Police Force Narcotics Branch. The Guyanese agents are expected to be screened before they begin their work with the US Agents.
Guyana continues to find itself as a drug transshipment point for cocaine from South America heading to the United States and Europe. Over the past few years, there has been more cooperation between law enforcement agencies on both sides and that cooperation has seen several drug mules being busted.
Filed: 3rd March, 2015