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May 3, 2017

No Additional Charges for Cops Accused of Contraband

Almost a month ago, police announced disciplinary proceedings against a police constable and a special constable based in Orange Walk, who were accused of illegally contrabanding items at the Rio Hondo/Botes crossing. Police Constable Jorge Ascurio of the Orange Walk Formation was charged for acting in prejudice to good order and discipline and placed on interdiction.  Meanwhile, Alfredo Ismael Gongora was suspended from the Special Constable Program. Shortly thereafter, two more accused contrabandista cops – Police Constable Elston Rojas and the vehicle commander, Police Corporal Abner Marroquin – were put on interdiction.  Like their fellow officers, they were caught on video with alleged contraband, but this time it was by Customs officers based at the Northern Border Station. PC Rojas and Corporal Marroquin were also charged with Prejudice to Good Order and Discipline.  But calls have been made for the officers to pay the statutorily prescribed fine of three times the value of the goods. However, there will be no such payment, according to sources close to the case. Senior Customs officials would not comment on record, but we understand that the decision to punish Constable Ascurio was left to police for various reasons, including issues with evidence at a potential trial.  But the disciplinary charges will be the only ones levied for the moment.

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