Cocaine lab in New River Triangle
Guyana to address concerns with Suriname, US

Stabroek News
August 19, 2000

In the wake of reports that a cocaine laboratory is in operation in the New River Triangle area, Head of the Presidential Secretariat, Dr Roger Luncheon said the government is to work with Suriname and the United States to address this problem.

At the opening of a Precursor Chemicals and Risk Profiling workshop last week, Home Affairs Minister, Ronald Gajraj had said there are cocaine processing laboratories in Guyana.

His announcement confirmed what has been suspected for several years - that clandestine cocaine purifying labs were operating in remote parts of Guyana but this was the first time it has been confirmed publicly by a minister of government.

Previously Guyana was rated as only a marijuana producer and the presence of labs would signal an escalation in the narcotics trade here.

Just prior to the Minister's announcement, Commissioner of Customs and Trade Administration, Lambert Marks, former head of the Customs Anti-Narcotics Unit (CANU), had announced that there was a cocaine processing laboratory in the New River Triangle area in south east Guyana.

Dr Luncheon at a press conference yesterday in answer to a query, said that the information about clandestine labs came from a credible source. Obviously referring to Minister Gajraj, Dr Luncheon said "the source" must have had a basis for making such an announcement.

Questioned about additional assistance for CANU, Dr Luncheon said with the passing of the Money Laundering Bill, any new budget for CANU and the Narcotics Branch of the Guyana Police Force would be influenced by new responsibilities.

Dr Luncheon also disclosed that the US has indicated that it would be granting additional assistance to CANU in certain categories. He did not elaborate.

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