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Sep 12, 2018

The Smugglers of the Benque Free Zone

According to investigators, the burglars that stole hundreds of thousands of dollars from the Kortobacco Belize building in the Benque Free Zone gained access into the compound from an opening on the western side of the zone. According to the C.E.O. of the Benque Free Zone, Al D. Sattler, the chain link fence that encompasses most of the zone has been damaged by smugglers. Sattler says that smugglers would cut large holes through the fence in order to smuggle several items out. He says that the Benque Viejo Free Zone does not have the adequate resources to effectively tackle the issue.

 

Al D. Sattler

Al D. Sattler, C.E.O., Benque Viejo Free Zone

“They cut in and out. Not people from outside, people from inside the free zone trying to smuggle things out of the free zone. We do our best to catch them and close the holes on a daily basis.”

 

Hipolito Novelo

“I would imagine the free zone does not have enough man power, resources to tackle that specific issue on its own.”

 

Al D. Sattler

“We do not have resources to have people put all on the fence on a twenty four hours security basis. No.”

 

Hipolito Novelo

“Other business owners, have they raised concerns?”

 

Al D. Sattler

“Not yet. I don’t think any other business in the free zone is crazy enough to have that kind of volume of money in a regular warehouse building. This free zone, even being on the western border is a very safe environment.  Those things what just happened on Saturday, the heist, it might be the biggest heist in the history of Belize. It was definitely an inside job. Nobody is going to cut through three steels doors and go exactly where to go and where to find the money and not touch anything else.”

 

Hipolito Novelo

“Have any of the operating business here in the free zone have been recently targeted in the months or weeks?”

 

Al D. Sattler

“Never. Knock on wood.”

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