By: Andrew Carmichael
Police in Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne) have been able to put a dent in the illegal drug trade by destroying in excess of $300 million worth of cannabis during the first five months of this year.
As recent as Saturday, one acre with several hundred plants measuring two to five feet in height and more than six thousand five hundred cannabis seedlings with an estimated street value of $5,824,000 was destroyed at Vryheid, West Canje.
Divisional Commander, Senior Superintendent Calvin Brutus said a total of 17 persons have been prosecuted thus far for the year in relation to the cultivation of marijuana.
He added that over 30 marijuana fields were destroyed with hundreds of millions worth in value. “Over $300 million worth of ganja we have managed to get off the streets.”
“We have boats that were intercepted on the waterway with large amounts of narcotics which were ceased. We have had the Coast Guard intercepting a boat along the Canje River where two men were arrested who had 21 kilograms of ganja in the boat. They have already pleaded guilty and are serving three-years sentences.”
Several persons have also been apprehended at the checkpoint at the Berbice River Bridge with illegal drugs. One car is also in Police custody.
“The Narcotic Act says if you are using it in the furtherance of your illegal activity; being drugs, then the car is ceased and impounded and the court will have to make an order.
“Either the court orders that it is sold at an auction or it goes back to the owner, based on what evidence is available. We have had another car ceased and lodged at the Number 51 Police Station in relation to narcotics.”
Brutus added that while trafficking is considered as being one of the more serious offences for narcotics, smaller interceptions have been made in the region.
According to the Commander, the success in the fight against the cultivation could be linked to the technology being employed.
“The drone is very useful in locating farms but once someone would have fled from the field, it is hard for us to prove that they were on the field unless you find some form of identification there which they don’t have. They don’t carry ID cards and passports on their fields. What we also do is that we take the GPS coordinates and we supply that to the Lands and Survey.”
This, he said, is used by the Lands and Surveys Department as proof that the land is not being used for its intended purpose and the lease and as such, they are being revoked.