$550M cocaine bust: Arrest warrant issued for Stephen Vieira


 As investigations continue into the $550M cocaine bust at Zeelugt, East Bank Essequibo, Tazim Gafoor along with his son, Nazim Gafoor remain in custody and the Custom Anti-Narcotics Unit (CANU) has issued an arrest warrant for ace biker, Stephen Vieira.

Acting head of the Unit, Major Michael Atherly confirmed that the wanted biker left the country after the discovery of the drugs. As such, he noted that an arrest warrant was issued for his arrest.

WANTED: Stephen Vieira

Nevertheless, Atherly noted that the unit will try its utmost to apprehend Vieira with the assistance of their international counterparts.

In addition, Narine Lall the sawmill owner is still out of the jurisdiction. Reports are that the High Court extension to further detain Nazim Gafoor will come to an end today and it is not clear if CANU will make another application to the High Court.

Atherly noted that investigations have intensified and once there is enough evidence, the father and son will be placed before the courts. This, he noted, will depend on the legal advisor.

On Friday last, members of the Customs Anti-Narcotic Unit swooped down on a lumber yard at Lot 227 Zeelugt, East Bank Essequibo, where they conducted a search on a truck that was laden with several pallets of 1×6 dressed lumber that is being prepared for export to the United States.

During the search, several boards were reportedly drilled randomly and revealed a whitish substance suspected to be cocaine.

However, the truck was escorted to CANU Headquarters where the lumber was further examined and proved that each of the compromised boards had a dugout cavity with vacuum sealed plastic packets containing cocaine pasted therein.   A total of 84.986 kilograms of cocaine with a street value of $550m were discovered.

At the time, four workers at the lumber yard were taken into police custody, where they remained throughout the last weekend but were released on Monday after it was established that they were only contracted to transport the lumber.

Meanwhile, further investigations by the CANU ranks led to the arrest of popular race car driver Nazim Gafoor and Haleem Mohamed.  CANU in a release stated that Vieira is listed on the shipping documents as the representative of Naraine Lall, who is the shipper of the consignment.

The elder Gafoor was on Monday afternoon arrested by members of the Guyana Police Force and handed over to CANU. Based on reports received, the two men are cooperating with the agents.


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