Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : January 22nd 2014 Contents GEISHA KOWLESSAR
and KHAMAL GEORGES
A local whistle-blower has provided a
detailed statement to local law enforcement
and visiting Drug Enforcement Adminis-
tration (DEA) officials, on how a group of
transnational drug dealers shipped $644
million in prime grade cocaine from Port-
of-Spain to the Port of Norfolk in the Unit-
ed States last month.
The drugs, which were concealed in more
than 700 cans of Trinidad Juice, were even-
tually seized by US Customs and Border
Protection (CBP) officers on December 20.
Based on the whistle-blower s informa-
tion, three people who have been described
as "businesspeople," have been identified
as primary suspects in the case.
A local broker has also been highlighted
as a key person of interest in the ongoing
Investigators are also trying to determine
whether Caribbean Sea Works Ltd, the com-
pany which requested an empty container
from local transport company Basics Trans-
port Ltd in order to ship what turned out
to be illegal cargo, is a legitimate entity.
The situation developed yesterday as DEA
officers continued liaising with local law
enforcement and customs officers trying to
piece together the final details of the case.
In an interview yesterday, director of
Basics Transport Ltd Apollo Arjoon could
not shed any light on the legitimacy of
Caribbean Sea Works Ltd. He said he was
contacted by a broker to supply an empty
container on behalf of Caribbean Sea Works.
He said, however, that he did not have a
number for the company and has never met
any of its representatives.
"How it works is a broker would supply
the relevant documents on behalf of
Caribbean Sea Works for the container to
be shipped...So I would not be dealing with
Caribbean Sea Works," Arjoon said.
He said for the past three years he has
been doing work for Caribbean Sea Works
Ltd through a broker, but maintained that
during that time he did not know the owner
or directors of the company.
He said he delivered an empty container
to be loaded on behalf of the company in
Port-of-Spain on November 7. The container
was then picked up the same day after it
was loaded, Arjoon said. He said his trans-
port fee is $800.
Arjoon said when empty containers are
delivered to clients, they are then filled and
a customs seal is placed on the container.
"After the seal is placed, I cannot break
it open to see what is inside of it," he said.
"I am not the one who would be there
when the items are being placed in the con-
tainer. That s really not my business.
"My objective is to deliver the container
to the client and then pick it up after."
Asked if he has been approached by the
police, Arjoon said he gave a statement to
the port police.
He said: "My business has and will con-
tinue to operate above board. We have noth-
ing to hide. The police can look at my records
Asked for more information, including a
phone number of the broker he dealt with
for the job, Arjoon said he prefered to give
that information to the police. He then
directed the T&T Guardian to the shipping
line Mediterranean Shipping Company.
However, documentation manager at the
Mediterranean Shipping Company, Susan
Mahabir, said she could not provide infor-
mation on the matter.
"I cannot say anything but I will say we
are working with the relevant agencies in
the investigation," Mahabir said in a tele-
Pressed further for a contact for Caribbean
Sea Works Ltd, she hung up.
Checks of the online registry of the Min-
istry of Legal Affairs yesterday showed there
was no listing for Caribbean Sea Works Ltd.
A company named Caribbean Works and
Services Ltd did come up during the search,
but that company has been dissolved.
The online SearchinTT business page did
have a Caribbean Sea Works Ltd registered
with a phone number, 637-3908, which
was not in service.
An address for Caribbean Sea Works Ltd
was listed as 107 Windy Ridge Road, Good-
wood Park, Trinidad. But when the T&T
Guardian visited there yesterday, there was
a building under construction at the address.
The property was recently bought by a new
owner, sources said.
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The Trinidad Juice labels on the tins which
contained $644 billion in cocaine were fake,
SM Jaleel said in a press release yesterday.
It said an internal examination showed the
colour of the text disclosing the net fluid ounces
on original and authentic Trinidad Juice labels
was "light green," whereas the colour of the
text on the product which was seized on the
Port of Norfolk was "dark green."
Company officials also yesterday revealed
that 1,296 tins of Trinidad Juice were stolen
from the Citrus Growers Association (CGA)
compound in Laventille on December 2 last
year. However, a report on the theft was only
made on December 10. CGA is a subsidiary of
SM Jaleel. Security has been beefed up at all
SM Jaleel companies in the wake of the drug
In the press release, the company said to date
the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) had not
contacted the company.
DEA officers arrived in the country over the
weekend to conduct further investigations on
"The DEA has been investigating this matter
since December 20, 2013, over one month ago.
To date, SM Jaleel has not been contacted by
the DEA, which indicates a lack of suspicion of
SM Jaleel and its legitimate involvement," the
Lawyers acting for SM Jaleel in the US, how-
ever, have been in contact with the DEA "to
confirm the details of this shipment," it added.
It said the Food and Drug Administration has
not recalled any products manufactured by SM
Jaleel, including Trinidad Juice.
"They have not recalled the product because
they do not consider it to be a threat to the
public. In fact, the FDA cleared five of SM Jaleel s
containers just today, and everything was OK,"
the company said.
This was the second incident in which an
SM Jaleel product was involved in a drug-related
Royal Navy veteran Joromie Lewis, 33, of
Gosport, Hampshire, died hours after drinking
a cocaine-tainted 20-oz Pear D drink on Decem-
ber 5. This prompted the company to remove
the product from local shelves.
Five people have since been arrested in that
SM Jaleel, however, does not export Pear D
to the UK and officers investigating that case
believe it was an isolated incident.
Wednesday, January 22, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
Probers look at local
broker as key figure
for 21st JANUARY, 2014
$644m cocaine bust in US...
tins and the
during the $.6
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