German police seize 1.5 tons of cocaine hidden in Guyana rice

Part of the shipment (picture-alliance/dpa/D.Reinhardt photo)
Part of the shipment (picture-alliance/dpa/D.Reinhardt photo)

Authorities in the German port city of Hamburg have found over €300 million worth of cocaine in a cargo shi p container from Guyana containing rice.

According to Deutsche Welle,  Hamburg authorities discovered 1.5 tons of cocaine in a freight container, one of the largest quantities ever seized in the northern German port city, a spokesperson for the Customs Investigations Office said on August 10, 2020..

Rice from this country has been used on several occasions to conceal cocaine.  Some rice exporters from this country have previously been implicated in such shipments.   

The massive haul, which has an estimated street value of around €300 million (US$353 million), was hidden between sacks of rice in the container which came from Guyana, local newspaper Hamburger Abendblatt said.

“The 1.5 tons of cocaine seized may be a highly pure drug, which would be tripled in price for street sales,” the Hamburger Abendblatt quoted an official as saying.

The container had arrived in Hamburg’s port at the end of June on the 300-meter-long container ship, “CMA CGM Jean Gabriel.”

The container was to be loaded onto a feeder ship together with 11 other transport containers and then ultimately carry the cargo to Poland. As a result, the container was temporarily stored at the Hamburg terminal.

Investigators at the Joint Customs and Police Investigation Group (JIT) had reportedly received a tip-off about drug smuggling, Deutsche Welle said.

The container in question was then taken to the city’s Waltershof customs office and examined in a testing facility. Officers found 47 large packages hidden between the rice sacks and within those packages, a total of 1,277 small parcels with cocaine, the report said.

The parcels all had various symbols on them, including a cat’s face, the Gallic rooster, and the Ampelmännchen (red and green traffic light symbols shown on pedestrian signals in Germany). Several hundred of the packages were marked with the same logo.

Authorities presumed the cocaine was to be distributed from Poland to bulk buyers all over Europe who would then sell the drugs to street dealers.

A variety of commodities from this country have been used to conceal cocaine including timber and pepper sauce.


Germany’s Cocaine-in-rice bust: Guyana’s anti-drug agency launches investigation

Demerara Waves – August 11, 2020         

Deputy Head of Guyana’s Customs Anti-Narcotics Unit, Lesley Ramlall on Tuesday said local drug agents have launched a major investigation into Germany’s bust of 1.5 tons of cocaine  in a consignment of rice that German authorities said originated in Guyana.

Mr. Ramlall said he has already asked the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) for records of all rice shipments to Europe over the last  six  months.

CANU, he said, is also in contact with German law enforcement agents and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime’s (UNODC) Container Programme to ascertain the number of the shipping container, considered a major piece of information to determine whether the drugs and rice originated from Guyana’s shores.

“We don’t know the container, The container speaks a lot because that will go right back to the shipper,” Mr. Ramlall told News-Talk Radio Guyana 103.1 FM/ Demerara Waves Online News. He said such information would aid Guyanese investigators in determining whether the drugs was placed in the container in another country.

He said CANU has so far not questioned anyone because that would amount to a “ghost hunt” without any information.

The Head of CANU said he was already in contact with his counterparts in Germany.

The container had arrived in Hamburg’s port at the end of June on the 300-meter-long container ship, “CMA CGM Jean Gabriel.”

German authorities said they discovered the  1.5 tons of cocaine, worth more than US$300 million, stashed in a shipment of rice believed to have originated from Guyana. The cocaine was en route to Poland.

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  • brandli62  On 08/12/2020 at 1:51 am

    This is terribly bad PR for Guyana. It will be important to determine whether the cocaine was load onto the boat at a Guyanese port or later. If the first were the case, the responsible authorities need to curb these illegal activities once and for all.

    • William  On 08/12/2020 at 9:23 am

      That is nothing new. The drug trade in Guyana has been booming for years. Just ask Roger Khan and his cohorts. Now he’s back in Guyana and PPP in power again, don’t expect any investigations nor ebb in this sort of crime.

  • brandli62  On 08/12/2020 at 4:00 pm

    I am not sure whether Exxon and the other oil companies will tolerate drug shipments out of Guyana. Having US companies in the country will change how things are done. Just go and see the Department of Citizenship and Immigration. The building located in Bourda GT is new and air-conditioned. Everything is organised and the staff is friendly. Frequently, you’ll see Exxon staff with applications for work permits of expats. They will have zero tolerance for sloppy work or having to pay bribes for service.

    • Kman  On 08/12/2020 at 7:33 pm

      The oil companies don’t give a horse’s ass about that. The US government have them there to cover covert activities, like spying on Venezuela, and being ready to launch any assault. The oil companies get most of the oil revenue, plus some extra from the US government. Guyana is getting a very tiny fraction of the oil revenue, and they have to pay ‘expenses’ out of that.

      The Guyanese folks who allowed that to happen were probably well bribed, plus US visa.

      The Americans ate there to provoke the Venezuelans.

  • wally n  On 08/12/2020 at 7:53 pm

    That’s nice to know, unfortunately, bigger, richer, countries have all of that and more.. problem still there.
    Almost all governments have shady people in high positions, drug dealing pays well, actually very well.
    Recently in Canada, over forty containers of expensive cars were discovered heading for Africa, I say, just me, suspect Customs, hopefully wrong.
    In the U S shipments of semi automatic guns discovered coming in from China, me just me, suspect customs,hopefully wrong.
    Country/countries that use the death penalty, some control, maybe Guyana should try a few notches lower.
    BTW  a lil off topic maybe, reading the Guyana Newspaper, it looks like the Guyanese Criminals have mastered the “Diversity” problem, quite a UN they  built up, over there.

  • guyaneseonline  On 08/24/2020 at 8:43 pm

    1.5 tonne coke seized in Germany not loaded in Guyana
    Aug 21, 2020 News

    – but probe reveals deep worry of systems at GRA

    A recent major seizure of one and half tonnes of cocaine in Germany was more than likely loaded in another country.
    This was made clear in a statement by the Customs Anti-Narcotic Unit (CANU) which has been conducting the local probe.
    The seizure had been linked to containers of rice exported by a major Berbice miller.
    The incident had threatened a major part of the country’s rice export market which is controlled by the company.
    According to CANU yesterday, the seizure was made on August 10 at Hamburg Port, Germany by police.

    CANU found that the drugs were discovered in a 20-foot container containing several bags of white rice shipped from Guyana.
    “The said contaminated container was one out of a shipment of a total of 12 20-feet containers. That entire shipment of the 12 containers comprised 6,000 bags of white rice intended for export to a company in Poland. The vessel intended to transport the said 12 containers was loaded and sailed from Guyana between the 25th and 26th May, 2020.”
    According to CANU, it was confirmed that all 12 of the said containers were scanned locally by operatives of the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) and no narcotic was detected nor were their seals appeared to have been tampered with.
    In fact the containers were in-transit elsewhere.

    “It is key to note that the said vessel which departed Guyana arrived on June 7th, 2020 in another territory where the said 12 containers were reportedly off loaded in that territory and remained in –transit for a total of six days after which those 12 containers which included the one later found to be contaminated were then re-loaded onto another vessel different from the vessel that initially transported those 12 containers from Guyana.
    That said second vessel with the 12 containers and its other cargo then arrived in Hamburg, Germany on June 27th, 2020 and discharged the said 12 containers the following day, June 28th, 2020.
    “The said 12 containers remained at their boarded location in Germany for several days after which they were then searched and the suspected narcotic were intercepted on Monday 10th August 2020.”

    According to CANU, there was evidence that the container was handled elsewhere.
    “Importantly, newspaper clippings out of the territory in which the said 12 containers remained in-transit were found to have been used to wrap some of the bundles of suspected narcotic intercepted in Germany.”
    CANU said it has conducted an extensive investigation into the handling, shipping and export of this shipment of white rice and “has not yet found conclusive evidence that suggests that the suspected narcotic was loaded onto the contaminated container in Guyana.”

    Nevertheless, the entity was worried.
    It said it has unearthed loopholes and irregularities regarding the local handling of the shipment which has resulted in a collaborative investigation by CANU and GRA seeking to amend same.
    “CANU’s investigation continues.”

    Message: CANU will continue to participate in inter-agency collaborations in its bid to tighten the grip on Narcotic distributors throughout the Country.

    • brandli62  On 08/25/2020 at 2:33 am

      Interesting report! If not loaded in Guyana, where does CANU believe that the cocaine was loaded into the container carrying Guyanese rice? The article refers to an unnamed “territory”.

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