Chadee and Beharry were fall guys; media events for public consumption
"The Syrian organisation has always made sure that it cultivated and wielded influence over the political parties of TnT. It is organically tied to the PNM but it has ensured that it exerted some influence over the NAR and the UNC."
December 12, 2004
By David Millette email: email@example.com
DOLE CHADEE's fall from power was engineered by rival Syrian drug organisations.
This is the contention of author Daurius Figueira in his recently published book, Cocaine and Heroin Trafficking in the Caribbean – The Case of TnT, Jamaica and Guyana.
A DEA official in Miami is also quoted as having come to this said conclusion about the role of the Syrians in the demise of Chadee.
Figueira, however, is also questioning the high status accorded to Chadee and Zimmern "Shortman" Beharry, in the drug world by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) of the US.
According to him, Chadee and Beharry, who were identified as the bosses of the original Indo-Trinbagonian drug cartel, were, in fact, operating at the most insecure and risk-laden level of the business, which meant that they could not have been really big players in the drug world after all.
He quoted from an affidavit presented as evidence by US prosecutor, James R. Boma, in connection with the extradition to America hearing for Beharry, who was arrested by Trinidad police on May 28, 1996, for allegedly trafficking illicit drugs into the USA.
Boma's affidavit said: "Beharry and Chadee were heading a cartel, headquartered in San Fernando, which moved crack cocaine into Florida for the Cali Cartel of Columbia.
"The quantum of product moved by this cartel merited the launch in 1992 of 'Operation Crack Attack' aimed at this cartel.
"The trail of evidence commenced in 1991 when Carl Louis Hoi Pong, the ex-Board of Inland Revenue cashier, and Ronald Lee, unknowingly attempted to sell product to DEA agents in Florida.
"Beharry was placed in proximity to the area of the buy, and he subsequently fled the US for Trinidad.
"The seizure of 30 kilos of cocaine aboard the Hybur Intrepid, and the subsequent deals made with the convicted, placed Beharry as the architect of the operation ...
"Wayne Lalla, supposed chief lieutenant of Beharry, caught by US authorities in possession of illicit drugs in the US, agreed to finger Beharry as architect of a move to place 42 kilos of crack cocaine in the US."
Figueira also quoted Jerome Harris, of the DEA's Barbados office, as stating: "Chadee is one of the premier traffickers ... one of the most significant ...one of the smartest in the Eastern Caribbean.
"He had Columbian connections, and I think he used the Columbian cartel groups as sort of his models ... with the increase in the violence as his organisation became more successful, his attempts to influence high level officials, his attempts to expand his network into other countries."
But according to Figueira, based on Boma's affidavit, the modus operandi of Beharry's operation showed glaring weaknesses which allowed for penetration and eventual destruction.
"The first question hinges on the presence of Beharry in the vicinity of the Hoi Pong/Lee bust by the DEA, and Beharry's subsequent need to flee from the US," Figueira noted.
"As head of a trans-shipping cartel, you simply don't make mistakes as those made by Beharry.
"The second question deals with Beharry sending persons to accompany shipments who dealt with him on a personal basis and, by extension, capable of implicating him.
"The third question raises the issue that, according to the DEA, the cartel was moving predominantly crack cocaine into Florida."
Figueira asked: "Why move crack cocaine, a low value item compared to powdered 90 per cent pure, into the Florida wholesale market, which is almost always perpetually flooded with product sold at soft prices for Cali and Medellin cartels at that time?
"One can purchase 90 per cent pure powdered cocaine at around US$12,000 per kilo in times of product oversupply in Florida, especially Miami."
Figueira argued: "The issues raised by the questions articulated above, cast doubts upon the image of the Chadee-Beharry cartel as posited by the DEA.
"From the affidavit of Boma, it is clearly apparent that the so-called Chadee/Beharry cartel was operating at the most insecure and risk-laden level of the drug trafficking business in America.
"Beharry and his lieutenants were operating devoid of the protection afforded by strategic tie-ups in the geographic entity they chose to penetrate.
"They therefore formed cells consisting of Trinidadians in Florida who would receive the illicit drugs from persons who baby sat the drugs into the USA, and arranged the sale on the wholesale market.
"Given the enormity of the risks, they were forced to choose geographic areas where a Trinidadian community was present in sizeable numbers to afford them some measure of anonymity, such as Florida.
"Beharry was literally involved in the high-risk venture of creating a Trinidadian cartel in Florida, much like the way the Columbians created their own cartels in America in the late 1970s.
"But the Chadee/Beharry cartel had to be relatively inconspicuous, especially in the quantum of product moved, or in any moves to aggressively snatch retail turfs or crack blocks.
"The power of the entrenched cartels in Florida would have spelt the violent end of this Trinidadian transplant."
Figueira further contended: "One can never be convinced that the existing Florida cartels did not, in fact, finger the Chadee-Beharry operations to the DEA."
He insists that Chadee and his cohorts, like Beharry, were really independent dealers in the local narco-trafficking economy, and as such, they were made fall guys or sacrificial lambs; media events for public consumption.
"The politicians have declared war on the illicit drug trade and they need body counts to indicate their dedication to their holy task," Figueira added.
"The covert cartels, their allies in the State agencies, in conjunction with the politicians, have determined that the independents must be sacrificed in order that the covert (hybrid) cartels survive.
"The independents cartels have crumbled, but the Trinbagonian market continues to be awash in cocaine, high quality blow going at between TT $30,000 and $35,000 per kilo.
"The fact of the matter is that the local market continues to be supplied by the hybrid cartels that transship product to the US and Europe, and retail locally."
Figueira continued: "It is these hybrid cartels that utilised their military arm in 1991, to commence the turf wars within the industry by targeting the operations of the major independents in the local cocaine economy, i.e. the Dole Chadee cartel.
"The resultant tit-for-tat violence to protect product, turf, personnel and hegemony, resulted in the downfall of Chadee."
The book added: "In the late 1980s, a turf war developed between Afro-Trinbagonian independent illicit drug traffickers, and the Syrian/Lebanese organisation.
"In the early 1990s this conflict would escalate into open turf warfare, and the Syrians provided the evidence to the DEA, British Customs, and the illicit drug interdiction agency of the Netherlands, to bring these nascent independent trafficking organisations down.
"Beharry and Chadee would be famous victims of the Syrian backlash, but a series of Afro-Trinbagonian traffickers, unknown to the wider public, would be killed, fled from Trinbago, or were imprisoned in the US and Britain ... for daring to challenge Syrain/Lebanese hegemony over illicit drug retailing in the East-West Corridor.
"... the Syrian organisation and the US covert agencies launched a concerted assault ... which resulted in the imprisonment of the Ramdhanies of Cedros, the hanging of Chadee, and the extradition and imprisonment of Beharry."
Figueira quotes an interview with an unnamed DEA official in Miami -- carried in the Express in September, 1996 -- which supports his contention that the Syrian drug dealers assisted in the downfall of Chadee:
"TnT should not rest comfortably because Chadee was out of the way, because there are other drug dealers in this country who are just as big as Chadee, if not bigger.
"These dealers are hiding behind more legitimate businesses than Chadee has, and we have not dismissed the theory that the other cartels might not have contributed to Chadee's demise."
Figueira continued: "The Syrian organisation has always made sure that it cultivated and wielded influence over the political parties of TnT.
"It is organically tied to the PNM, but it has ensured that it exerted some influence over the NAR and the UNC.
"Its war against the Afro-Trinbagonian independents prosecuted under the PNM government of 1991 to 1995 was continued, and in fact expanded under the UNC government.
"For it was under the UNC government, Beharry was extradited to the US, and Chadee hanged for murder.
"Under the UNC, the new generation of money launderers and illicit drug traffickers of the Syrian organisation rose to positions within the State sector, and wielded political influence previously denied them under preceding PNM regimes.
"The UNC empowered a new generation within the Syrian organisation which influenced tensions within the organisation over succession of power, that threatened to tear apart the organisation in public eyes for the first time in its career in illicit drug trafficking."
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