Arguments over arrest timing in cocaine case

Guyana Chronicle
August 23, 2000

THE timing of the arrest of the three men charged in the cocaine bust on a city street earlier this month was the centre of arguments when the case continued yesterday before Chief Magistrate Paul Fung-A-Fat.

Lawyer for the trio, Mr Vic Puran, asked Customs Anti-Narcotics Unit (CANU) agent, Jeremy Mbozi why he did not arrest them.

But the witness said he did not detain the three men charged with trafficking in nearly 10 pounds of cocaine because he was not instructed to.

The three men, Albert Vaughn and Trenton Allicock, of 2 D'Urban Street, Lodge, Georgetown, and Morris Darr, of 3 McDoom Public Road, Greater Georgetown, were arrested and charged following gunplay and a dramatic vehicle chase on a city street.

In sworn testimony last Friday, Mbozi had said that he and another officer, Pierre, had followed the three after observing Darr handing them a bag which CANU said it later seized and found it had four kilos and 75.08 grammes of cocaine.

The two officers, however, did not arrest the men but returned to CANU headquarters once a CANU squad, stationed at another point in the city, took up the chase.

This prompted Puran to question why the two CANU officers on stakeout did not arrest the men they observed trading in cocaine although they were trained to arrest persons reasonably suspected to be committing a felony.

Mbozi, however, said he was merely following instructions.

When Puran persisted in questioning the witness on the arrest issue, special prosecutor James Bovell-Drakes argued that this was not relevant.

On Friday, Mbozi had said that he and Pierre were stationed on the eastern side of the road where they had a full view of the building they were surveying, which is on the western side of the road.

It is from this point that they had observed the approach of Pathfinder PFF 1539 and its occupants Vaughn and Allicock, Mbozi said.

He said the men collected a bag from Darr and left the area.

But Puran yesterday questioned the witness' credibility when he said he was unable to observe the buildings on the western side of the road.

The lawyer also claimed that CANU had searched Darr's house on the morning of August 11 and asked Mbozi if he was aware of this.

Mbozi said he was not.

Vaughn and Allicock were arrested after a shootout with CANU on Mandela Avenue on August 11 but no one was reported wounded.

Three vehicles were seized during this raid.

CANU officers, stationed at Mandela Avenue, tried to stop the vehicle but the driver refused to stop and attempted to escape the officers who were in pursuit.

CANU claimed Vaughn was driving the vehicle and he has also been charged with dangerous driving.

The men were cornered and arrested on Mandela Avenue and a search of the plastic bag revealed the cocaine.

The case continues tomorrow. (ABIGAIL KIPPINS)

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