The four men charged with aiding in the trafficking of $550M worth of cocaine hidden away in lumber could know their fates come January 24, 2019, the presiding magistrate has said.

Magistrate Rushell Liverpool of the Leonora Magistrate’s Court made the revelation today, saying that the identified date is a tentative one.

The announcement comes after three of the four men gave unsworn testimonies today in court denying any knowledge of the crime. Yesterday, super bike Stephen Vieira gave his unsworn statement and, like his co-accused, maintained his innocence.

The men — Stephen Vieira of Middle Street, South Cummingsburg, Georgetown; Nazim Gafoor and his father Tazim Gafoor, both of Menzies Street, Windsor Forest, West Coast Demerara; and former Customs Officer Sherwayne De Abreu of 262 Street-Eight Section A Liliendaal, Greater Georgetown — are accused of aiding Hakim Mohamed to traffic 84.986 kilograms of cocaine concealed in dressed lumber. The crime is alleged to have happened between March 1 and May 2, 2017 at a sawmill belonging to Narine Lall located at Lookout, East Bank Essequibo.

Although the men are accused of aiding Mohamed to traffic the narcotics, charges were never brought against Mohamed as he had struck a deal and testified on behalf of the State. An arrest warrant has been issued for Lall.

Following the closure of the prosecution’s case, led by Customs Anti Narcotics Unit (CANU) Prosecutor Konyo Sandiford, no-case submissions were laid over to the court by lawyers for the four defendants.

After careful revision of the evidence, Magistrate Liverpool ruled that prima facie evidence was led against the four men, and that the court would call upon each of them to lead a defence.

The men are represented by attorneys-at-law Latchmie Rahamat (Vieira); Everston Lammy-Singh (Nazim Gafoor), Glenn Hanoman (Tazim Gafoor) and Nigel Hughes (De Abreu).


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