$550M drug bust: Stephen Vieira arrested


Super bike racer Stephen Vieira, who was wanted in connection with the $550 million cocaine bust at Zeelugt, East Bank Essequibo (EBE), was on Thursday evening arrested moments after stepping off a flight at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport, Timehri, East Bank Demerara.

Popular bike racer Stephen Vieira

Reports are the Customs Anti-Narcotics Unit (CANU) had on Wednesday issued an arrest warrant for the biker, who reportedly left the country following the discovery of the 186 pounds of illegal substance.

This publication understands that the biker was in Jamaica for the Caribbean Motor Racing Championship, but upon learning of the ongoing investigation, the Guyana Motor Racing and Sports Club suspended his racing licence, thus making him ineligible to participate in the action.

Upon his return, he was arrested and handed over to the CANU agents.

Vieira is being represented by a team of attorneys.

Meanwhile, as investigations continue into the cocaine bust, race car driver Nazim Gafoor and his father Tazim Gafoor were released on Thursday, but are required to visit CANU Headquarters on a daily basis pending the outcome of the investigations.

Sawmill owner Narine Lall is still out of the jurisdiction.

Some 187 pounds of cocaine, carrying a street value of Gy $550M, was found concealed in lumber being prepared for shipment to the USA

On Friday last, members of CANU swooped down on a lumber yard at Lot 227 Zeelugt, EBE, where they conducted a search on a truck that was laden with several pallets of 1×6 dressed lumber that was 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 $550 million was discovered.

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

Further investigations by the CANU ranks led to the arrest of popular race car driver Nazim Gafoor and Haleem Mohamed. Gafoor’s father as well as Stephen Vieira were listed by CANU as men of interest.

It was further revealed that Vieira is listed on the shipping documents as the representative of Naraine Lall, who is the shipper of the consignment. With the help of the law enforcement officers, Tazim Gafoors was arrested and handed over to CANU.

Agents of CANU are continuing their investigations into the bust.


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