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May 8, 2018

5 Belizeans Held for Not Declaring Money Allegedly Tainted by Drugs

There’s another bust that has given Belize a black eye in the international press. A judge in El Salvador has ordered further detention for seven persons, including five Belizeans, who are accused of money laundering crimes. Between them, they carried more than sixty-six thousand U.S. dollars, just under a thousand Belize dollars and a small amount of yen.  According to La Pagina news, Salvadoran authorities believe the group of persons was conducting what is known as “smurfing” – trying to legally introduce money from drug sales, extortion, kidnappings and other illicit activities. Belizeans Deymy Vanessa Rodríguez, Jessy Grabiel Ojeda, Marlon Alberto Valle and Lilian Racquel Salazar as well as Rongcang Chen, who has Belizean and Chinese nationality were captured along with Guatemalan Abraham Felipe and Honduran Claudia Patricia Orellana Bejarano on Thursday morning when their flight from Belize touched down at the international airport. Their final destination was Bogotá, Colombia.  All are charged for the crime of special cases of money laundering and assets. The group was nabbed when they showed suspicious behavior. They claimed they were traveling as tourists and that the money was for personal expenses. However, they did not declare the monies and were not able to justify where they got the funds from. A further hearing has been scheduled.

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