We’re Guilty – Cocaine Crew Confesses

The five persons arrested a few days ago in connection with the importation of 400 kilograms of a substance suspected to be cocaine worth $50 million from British Guyana, using a semi-submarine vessel called Atiyah Ex Alisam, yesterday told an Accra High Court that they were guilty of importing the hard drug into the country. The suspects, Percival Junior Curt, Miller Ronald O’Niel, Seth Grant, Samuel Monty and Singh Primchand, told the court presided over by Justice C.J. Hornyenugah, an Appeals Court Judge sitting with additional responsibility as a High Court judge, that they could not afford the services of a lawyer. They were charged with engaging in criminal conspiracy to commit offence by engaging in business relating to narcotic drugs, importation of narcotic drugs without lawful authority and possessing narcotic drugs without lawful authority. Percival Junior Curt, a Guyanese, pleaded guilty with explanation to all the charges, while his fellow Guyanese Miller Ronald O’Neil pleaded guilty and said “I am placing myself at the mercy of the court”. Seth Grant, a Ghanaian, Samuel Monty, an Australian and Singh Primchand, also a Guyanese, all said they were guilty with explanation. The trial judge said he would not convict the suspects until the results of the forensic analysis of the drugs were out and consequently ordered the Ghana Standards Board to conclude their analysis within two weeks. He had them remanded in the custody of the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) at the request of Esiama Asampong, a principal state attorney. The ship was travelling from Guyana when it was arrested and escorted by Ghana Naval Ship, Yaa Asantewaa, to the Sekondi Naval Base. The accused persons, together with the substances, were flown to Accra and handed over to the National Security and the Narcotics Control Board for investigations. Narrating events which led to the arrest of the cocaine suspects, Mr Sampong said Curt is an engineer and O’Neil is the crew captain while the remaining suspects are seamen. According to him, during the third week of November 2013, information reached the Narcotics Control Board (NACOB) of the suspicious movements of a semi-submarine called Atiyah Ex Alisam with registration number 000471, heading towards the territorial waters of Ghana. He said the vessel was sailing from British Guyana George-Town and was said to be carrying illicit drugs; so the vessel was monitored in coordination with security agencies from NACOB, the Ghana Navy and National Security. The principal state attorney said on Tuesday November 19, 2013, NACOB, in collaboration with the Western Naval Base in Takoradi within the Ghanaian territorial waters, intercepted the vessel and the accused persons were found on board. Explaining further, he said a thorough search on the vessel revealed 21 sacks of fertilizer smeared with engine oil, all containing 414 slabs of compressed whitish substances suspected to be narcotics, which were concealed in the hatch of the vessel. In addition, he stated that a field test was instantly conducted and it tested positive for cocaine. The prosecuting attorney said O’Neil, the captain of the vessel, upon interrogation, said the substances were to be delivered to a Ghanaian whose name he did not know, but said he had the contact number of the said person. Mr. Sampong stated further that the captain said the drugs were to be delivered at high seas and the vessel handed over to a shipping agency to be handed over to a new owner for $50,000. He said all the suspects were promised various sums of money upon safe delivery of the narcotic drugs, adding that the case was still under investigations while the substances had been sent to the Ghana Standards Board for analytical examination.