[www.inewsguyana.com] – A Leyland DAF Truck bearing Surinamese licence plates was intercepted at # 5 Villages, West Coast Berbice after four hundred (400) boxes of smuggled chicken with an aggregate value of over $2.8M, were discovered.
According to the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA), the truck and its contents were detained by officers from the GRA’s Law Enforcement and Investigation Division (LEID) after an encounter with officers of the Guyana Police Force (GPF) at the location on the afternoon of Sunday, September 6, 2015.
The quantity of chicken was then escorted to Georgetown where it was lodged at two secure locations for safe keeping pending further investigation. The boxes bearing the brand Rockingham, also carried the production date 27/05/15 and expiration date 27/05/16.
Meanwhile, two of the couriers, the driver and porter, were issued with Notice of Seizure/Detention for the chicken and motor vehicle after submitting voluntary statements to the authorities.
“They failed to produce the relevant documentation to show legal importation for the said commodity, and both stated that the supplies were given to them as hire by an unknown individual, to be transported to Georgetown. The motor vehicle was lodged at the GRA’s Warehouse Facility,” GRA noted in a statement.
Actions are pending in lieu of an offence being committed under Section 218 (d) of the Customs Act, Chapter 82:01 which states “every person who knowingly acquires possession of or is in any way knowingly concerned in carrying, removing, depositing, concealing, or in any manner dealing with any goods with intent to defraud the revenue of any duties thereon, or to evade any prohibition or restriction of or applicable to such goods, shall be liable for each such offence to a fine of treble the value of the goods or ten thousand dollars at the election of the Commissioner-General; and to imprisonment for one year and all goods in respect of which any such offence shall be committed shall be forfeited.”
According to GRA, given the perishable nature of the commodities, directives will also be given regarding disposal. This latest bust adds to the ongoing efforts by LEID in conjunction with other law enforcement entities to tackle smuggling and the concomitant loss of state revenue, not to mention potential threats to human safety and the environment.