UNITED STATES and Guyana currency totalling in excess of $10 M have been forfeited to the State after the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU) won a civil case against a convicted drug trafficker, Kevin Gordon.
The order for the forfeiture was granted by Justice Navindra Singh at the Demerara High Court on November 13, 2020.
The money involved includes the sums of US$48,560 (approximately $10.1M) and G$1,400 which were seized and detained from Gordon on the grounds that the money was the proceeds of crime.
The court further ordered the State to transfer the currency to the Consolidated Fund as provided for pursuant to the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism Act Cap 10:11.
Additionally, the court ordered Gordon to pay cost to the State in the sum G$1,500,000 on or before December 18, 2020.
According to the State’s case, on May 28, 2017, at Parika, East Bank Essequibo, the currency was withheld from Gordon by officers of the Customs Anti -Narcotics Unit (CANU) during a search of his haversack which contained narcotics.
Gordon was subsequently charged and convicted for narcotics trafficking. During the search he denied ownership of the currency and claimed that it belonged to one, Deon Williams. Williams indicated that the currency was his property and it was derived from the sale of fuel.
The State led evidence that Williams was not licenced to deal in petroleum and petroleum products. The court was satisfied that the penalty for breach of the Guyana Energy Agency regulation includes imprisonment for three years.
The State proved its case on a balance of probability and the court being satisfied that the money was the proceeds of crime, gave judgement in favour of SOCU by ordering the confiscation of the cash.