Guyana’s link to Mafia ring…US Ambassador stresses need for local DEA office

Guyana’s link to Mafia ring…US Ambassador stresses need for local DEA office

FEBRUARY 14, 2014 | BY KNEWS | – emphasizes greater need for inter-agency collaboration

US Ambassador Brent Hardt

US Ambassador Brent Hardt

US Ambassador D. Brent Hardt has emphasized a greater need for inter-agency collaboration for the fight against narco- trafficking, and has expressed continuing talks with the government to establish a Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) in Guyana.

The Ambassador said in an invited comment yesterday that since last December, he has been engaging the government over the need for a DEA office; a federal agency which aims to significantly counteract illicit drug activities.  

The Ambassador also asserted that given the porous nature of the country’s borders, it is not difficult that drug cartels would find easy access into the country. These comments came in the wake of Guyana being implicated as a drug port for players in a major drug smuggling ring which was earlier this week infiltrated by anti-drug units in the United States and Italy.

“We have been speaking as recently as last December. There is no reason why we haven’t set anything up, but it is a matter of getting approval, because we have had a bit of budgetary constraints. We have the presence here in Guyana where we are covered by the DEA in Trinidad, and that’s been the situation for some time, and they work very closely with Guyanese police and other law enforcement authorities. But even though we don’t have an office, we have officers that are in the country from time to time and they are trying to build cases. That’s what the federal agency brings to the table, its ability to build cases against major traffickers and that’s what they do in all the countries they operate.”

Ambassador Hardt added that for the time being, he has tried to make an effort to lobby for the DEA office, but no decision has been made.

“It’s not an issue of Guyana government hindering that, but it’s on our side. We have to find the resources and go through a process.”

Ambassador Hardt informed members of the media fraternity that he is not the least bit surprised by the (foreign) report.

“We have been pushing very hard in Mexico and Central America, because that’s where 90 percent of the drugs have been flowing. But as we have strengthened our efforts there, there is always the risk of having what we call the bloomer effect.”

This situation the Ambassador described as drug traffickers finding other areas that are easier ports of entry. He opined that Guyana’s porous borders are a cause for concern and might prove to be an ideal port for smugglers.

“The cartels are quite happy to move there if that is going to be the path of least resistance,” he related.

“It is a big problem. When you look at Guyana’s location, Venezuela is not too far from Colombia and Colombia and Peru are the two main producers of cocaine…Guyana’s borders with Venezuela’s are hard to patrol so there is no reason why given the proximity to the drug production, that Guyana wouldn’t be a key strategic location for a drug trafficker who is looking to get drugs to Africa and up to Europe.”

Court documents out of the US relating to this week’s bust of drug traffickers linked to the notorious Gambino and Bonanno crime families and the Italian crime syndicate known as ‘Ndrangheta, specified that Guyana was identified as a port through which large amounts of cocaine are shipped.

The court document showed that a major player in the drug ring had conspired to collect large amounts of cocaine from a “Guyana connection” which would be packed and smuggled in fish.
In recent interviews, top government officials related that they were unaware of the happenings. President Donald Ramotar told reporters on Wednesday that he had instructed his Home Affairs Minister Clement Rohee to request information from the US regarding Guyana’s involvement following the international drug arrests.

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  • Deen  On 02/14/2014 at 5:40 pm

    Based on its poverty and inability to adequately protect its borders, Guyana is increasingly becoming a major route for drugs trafficking. As we have seen in the media, there have been many incidents of clever drugs smuggling at Cheddi Jagan International Airport and with many cargo vessels out of Guyana.
    The red flag for drugs trafficking has been up and fluttering for sometime and, sadly, drugs use in Guyana has spread over the recent years.
    Also, with the corruption, coupled with the conditions of unemployment and poverty in Guyana, it makes it a suitable target for drugs traffickers.
    We have seen Guyana going down the tubes since it’s independence. The past and present government have demonstrated poor leadership and an inability to effective govern the country. As a result, they have done an injustice to Guyana and its people.
    Without financial aid and resources from foreign governments, especially to ensure good governance and curb corruption, Guyana will continue to decline into a depressing and deteriorating country.
    It’s a sad thing and a shame for all Guyanese, especially the older Guyanese, who have witnessed the transition of Guyana from what it was to what it is today.

  • Clyde Duncan  On 02/14/2014 at 10:42 pm

    U.S. Department of State:

  • Cliff Thomas  On 02/14/2014 at 11:41 pm

    This is not true. Drugs do not come here from Mexico but Columbia. Before any thing is written about Guyana, one must get the facts. Unfortunately, the US Ambassador seems to be incorrect. What we urgently need in Guyana is a Drug Enforcement Agency(DEA) which is long overdue and is to be supplied by the US. We hope this come on stream pretty quickly.

  • H.Bovell  On 02/15/2014 at 4:42 pm

    rich people do not realize that whatever affects the poor whether it is sickness,un-employment(which leads to crime.etc.) will eventually affect theirs and their children lives.Guyana is a very beautiful country Get involved in your community .do not let it go down .Do not try to live like what u see on TV.That is not real.Good family life,health,happiness,loving your neighbour as u love yourself is the way to go.I have seen Europe,England,Australia,United States,Canada and some carribean countries.Life in Guyana can be better than most of these countries.People just got to choose good leaders with vision who have their heart in developing Guyana and not just trying to line their pockets so they can retire in a foreign country .

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