Ex-CANU officer jailed for cocaine in shoe soles
A former Customs Anti Narcotics Unit (CANU) officer and another man were on Monday jailed for four years and ordered to pay a fine of over .5 million each by Chief Magistrate Ann McLennan.They were convicted of trafficking cocaine in shoe soles at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA).Ex-CANU officer Kurt Sunich, 30, and Israel George, 22, were found guilty of conspiring with a person or persons known and unknown to traffic 580 grams of cocaine on July 3, 2015 at the CJIA.The cocaine was reportedly neatly packed in the soles of two shoes and placed in the lavatory of the departure lounge at the CJIA, for George to collect. However, the plan failed when CANU officers carried out a routine search and found the drug.Unknown to George, who was an outgoing passenger to the United States, the ranks reportedly substituted the drug. He then took possession of the shoes and was arrested.Surveillance footage assisted investigators in identifying the persons who had allegedly taken the shoe soles to the toilet.During the summing up of evidence, Chief Magistrate McLennan said Police Prosecutor Neville Jeffers was able to prove all the elements of the offence.She said that the Prosecutor was able to prove his case beyond reasonable doubt against Sunich and George.Magistrate McLennan added that she believed the two men had knowledge of the trafficking agreement and intended to play a part. As such, she affirmed that based on evidence led during the trial she was satisfied that they conspired with persons to traffic narcotic.In mitigation, Attorney Euclin Gomes said that Sunich has accepted the ruling of the Court and was very remorseful. He also asked the Court to impose the minimal sentence that the law permits.Prosecutor Jeffers told the Court that the street value of the drugs multiplied by three is $1,566, 000 which the men were each ordered to pay as a fine.Sunich and George made their first court appearance on July 7, 2015 and had denied the allegation. They were initially remanded to prison, but were subsequently released on bail by the High Court.