DEA opens office in Guyana

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

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GEORGETOWN, Guyana (CMC) — The United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) yesterday opened an office here, promising to partner with Guyanese law enforcement authorities in the fight against the illegal drugs trade.


"Thanks for welcoming us into your country, thanks for welcoming us into this mission and giving us the support to work with you and I promise you this, we will be successful," said DEA Regional Director Matthew Donahue.


But he told the ceremony that DEA office cannot do it alone and dismissed the notion that the agency will be looking to root out the problem and go after the big drug dealers.


"We don’t focus solely on just the small-time drug traffickers; we focus on international people who are going to be bringing drugs in the country and taking drugs out the country," said Donahue.


"We focus on organisations that are not just drug traffickers. You see drug trafficking and you may think that’s all they are…the same people that are doing drug trafficking are illegally mining gold, illegally mining minerals, committing assassinations — they are all out of a criminal organisation that works transnational throughout the region," he said, promising "we are going to dismantle and destroy these organisations".


Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan said he believed the presence of the DEA here will have a significant impact on the narcotrade.


"The mere presence of this unit out of America will have a deterring effect in my opinion, the fact that such an important institution and such an important drug interdiction unit is here," he said. He added that while the DEA agents would not have police powers, their presence and their ability to disrupt networks and get to them is welcomed.


Ramjattan said he was also pleased that the DEA would be assisting Guyana in other areas, including efforts to tackle gold smuggling and money laundering.


US Ambassador Perry Holloway reminded that the DEA agents will not be going around "kicking down doors and dragging people out on the streets", but rather would play a major role in working with local agencies in tackling the drug trade and providing information that will be of benefit in the efforts to counter the narco trade.


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