Español Guyana’s Customs Anti-Narcotic Unit (CANU) claims to have questioned seven people in connection with the discovery of a self-propelled semi-submersible (SPSS) vessel that was found in mid August.
According to Minister of Home Affairs Clement Rohee, who was the one in charge of the inspection, the interception of the semi-submersible vessel has sent a strong and clear message to drug traffickers: law enforcement agencies are on the alert and are very active.
The 63-foot, 18-ton vessel was discovered at a campsite at the Waini River in the North West District. The find came as part of an intelligence-driven joint operation conducted by the CANU, the military’s Special Forces, the Coast Guard, and the Air Corps.
The odometer reading suggests the vessel has traveled for only three hours, and that includes a test run conducted in the Waini River by law enforcement agencies to see the maximum speed.
CANU chief James Singh says “These semi-submersible vessels are built for one reason and one reason only, and that is to transport drugs, mainly cocaine. This vessel was more than likely going to Europe or Africa, not the United States… The camp itself has been there for at least five months, based on the materials found.”
The inspection of the vessel suggests it has the capacity to accommodate a crew of four to five people and four to six tons of cocaine.
Rohee assures that the SPSS is similar to those used by drug smugglers in Latin America. At the request of local officials, experts from the US Drug Enforcement Agency are assisting law enforcement with their investigations.
From a geostrategic point of view, Guyana is considered by traffickers as an ideal transshipment point: “Drug traffickers use rivers, waterways, and territorial sea very frequently to conduct their nefarious activities … We hope that this kind of work will continue on the part of the law enforcement agencies with the help of the [military],” Rohee asserted.