Over two (2) dozen Haitians along with one (1) Cuban were nabbed by the Federal Police in Brazil after they allegedly illegally ventured into the Portuguese speaking country from Guyana.
This is according to Guyana’s Customs Anti-Narcotics Unit (CANU), which in a statement, noted that the immigrants were intercepted between Friday (yesterday) evening and Saturday (this) morning.
Additionally, taxi drivers who were awaiting the arrival of the immigrants in question to transport them to their destinations in Brazil, were also arrested.
The CANU stated that some of the Haitians who were arrested in Brazil had arrived in Lethem, Region Nine, Guyana during the past week and had initially been denied entry into Brazil.
“…It was suspected that they would try to use other routes to cross over, hence the information was passed on to Brazilian Counterparts by CANU who then alerted their law enforcement units within the area,” the statement from the CANU said.
According to the CANU, the arrest of the 27 immigrants is an example of excellent cross-border activities, and is in keeping with a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) recently signed between Brazil’s Federal Police and Guyana’s CANU for both parties to share information and conduct joint operations, involving narcotics and other criminal activities.
“This is one of the successes coming out of this arrangement. The movement of persons through unofficial crossings not only poses a security risk but also a health risk due to the ongoing COVID Pandemic.”
Previously, Guyana was flagged as a transit for narcotics trafficking and in recent times has seen increases in both Haitians and Cubans using the country as a transit point to travel to neighboring countries as well as the United States of America (USA.)
In December, 2020, Attorney General and Legal Affairs Minister Anil Nandlall, while addressing the challenges of immigrants utilizing Guyana as a transit point, had noted that the Government of Brazil had issued a complaint about such.
“We have a complaint from the Brazilian Government to say that Guyana is being used as a transshipment point for people smuggling into Brazil and we are being blamed for this. We are not an island. We are a mainland and we have extraordinarily wide borders that are almost impossible to monitor and police,” he had told the Trinidad’s Morning Edition in December 2020.