A RANK from the Customs Anti-Narcotics Unit, on Monday night, sustained a gunshot injury, after he and several other officers, on a joint anti-smuggling operation, came under fire from smugglers in Mahaica Creek.
While the name of the injured rank was not made public, CANU official, Leslie Ramlall, confirmed the incident. The anti-smuggling operation was led by the Guyana Revenue Authority Enforcement arm and was backed up with support from the Guyana Police Force and Customs Anti-Narcotics Unit.
Guyana Chronicle was told that the operation was an intelligence-led one which had been in the making over the last few weeks. The agencies involved did not brief many of the ranks about the operation they were going on and it was not until they arrived in the general area that they were briefed.
While in the Mahaica Creek, the ranks observed a boat fitting the description of the one they went in search of, and, shortly after that, they came under fire and were forced to return fire. After a considerable period of gunfire exchanges between the two sides, the other side with the suspected smugglers retreated and fled the scene.
Law enforcement officers then made their way onto the vessel where they noticed a quantity of suspected smuggled beers, alcohol and chicken. The items are said to be the property of a man in Mahaica who owns several boats and has been on the radar of both CANU and GRA.
Following the operation on Monday night, the law enforcement agents secured the vessel throughout the night, after it became grounded in the vicinity of Bee Hive, as they were attempting to escort it away from the danger zone.
Amid mosquito bites, coupled with intermediate downpour, law enforcement maintained a presence at the Bee-Hive foreshore as they sought to secure the boat with its cargo until first light. Once the place became clear, entrance and disembarking of any vessel to and from the area were restricted as they awaited assistance to have the vessel removed from its distress position. The investigation into the issues is on-going. No one has been arrested.