CANU to find safer way to dispose of cocaine as officers fall sick


The Customs Anti-Narcotics Unit (CANU) on Tuesday set out to the Atlantic Ocean with the intention of dumping more than $300 million worth of cocaine, but owing to difficulties encountered, the mission was aborted.

Initially, just over 318 kilograms of the illegal substance had been packed and readied for disposal, but the drug enforcement unit was only able to dispose of 44kg.

The cocaine being prepared for disposal

The remainder, 273kg was returned to CANU headquarters where it will remain in storage until a decision is taken with respect to other means of disposing same.

Before the team left for the Atlantic Ocean, the whitish substance was tested and proved to be cocaine in the presence of media operatives.

A sample of the narcotics being tested by a scientist from the Forensic Laboratory to ensure that it is cocaine

CANU Head, Major General Retired Michael Atherly explained that the cocaine was tendered as evidence in 77 court cases that have been completed. The cocaine was seized in various raids and operations between November 2013 and January 2017.

However, after travelling into the Atlantic Ocean, members of the team started to experience nausea, resulting in some vomiting on account of the stench of the illicit drugs.

Upon realising what was happening, the head of the team aborted the mission and ordered that the vessel return to the Coast Guard Wharf at Ruimveldt. On arriving at the CANU headquarters, the cocaine was once again weighed and placed into secured storage.

A member of the team noted that other options would be considered in the hope of destroying the drug, while noting in the past, burning was also done. A decision will be made once the options are debated.


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