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Labels in seized US haul fake—SM Jaleel

Wednesday, January 22, 2014
The photo released yesterday by SM Jaleel showing the discrepancy between their Trinidad Juice tins and the ones which were seized by US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers during the $.6 billion cocaine haul on December 20.

The Trinidad Juice labels on the tins which contained $644 billion in cocaine were fake, SM Jaleel said in a press release yesterday. It said an internal examination showed the colour of the text disclosing the net fluid ounces on original and authentic Trinidad Juice labels was “light green,” whereas the colour of the text on the product which was seized on the Port of Norfolk was “dark green.”


Company officials also yesterday revealed that 1,296 tins of Trinidad Juice were stolen from the Citrus Growers Association (CGA) compound in Laventille on December 2 last year. However, a report on the theft was only made on December 10. CGA is a subsidiary of SM Jaleel. Security has been beefed up at all SM Jaleel companies in the wake of the drug haul. In the press release, the company said to date the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) had not contacted the company.


DEA officers arrived in the country over the weekend to conduct further investigations on this end. “The DEA has been investigating this matter since December 20, 2013, over one month ago. To date, SM Jaleel has not been contacted by the DEA, which indicates a lack of suspicion of SM Jaleel and its legitimate involvement,” the release said. Lawyers acting for SM Jaleel in the US, however, have been in contact with the DEA “to confirm the details of this shipment,” it added.


It said the Food and Drug Administration has not recalled any products manufactured by SM Jaleel, including Trinidad Juice. “They have not recalled the product because they do not consider it to be a threat to the public. In fact, the FDA cleared five of SM Jaleel’s containers just today, and everything was OK,” the company said. This was the second incident in which an SM Jaleel product was involved in a drug-related incident.


Royal Navy veteran Joromie Lewis, 33, of Gosport, Hampshire, died hours after drinking a cocaine-tainted 20-oz Pear D drink on December 5. This prompted the company to remove the product from local shelves. Five people have since been arrested in that case. SM Jaleel, however, does not export Pear D to the UK and officers investigating that case believe it was an isolated incident. 



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