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Jan 24, 2020

Tackling Contrabandistas in the North

Hostility while patrolling the borders can result in crossfire between law enforcement officers and contrabandistas in buffer communities along the Belize/Mexico border. The enforcement officers of the Customs and Excise Department have been strategic, often times partnering with the police to carry out operations in villages such as San Victor in the Corozal District. Ronald Sanchez told News Five today how the department deals with this issue.


Ronald Sanchez, Enforcement Officer, Customs Investigation Unit

“We try to work our best around it. Entering the village is no problem, but when you capture or seize a shipment within a village, that’s when the entire village decides to attack.  Not to expose our efforts, but we try to go around that so if we can’t enter in, we try to intercept it before it enters into the village or when it leaves the village.  So we try to do different tactics to address the issue, but it is a very hostile area and eventually we will take over position of that area again.”


Ronald Sanchez

Duane Moody

“When you guys operate in these areas, it is with the assistance of the police or B.D.F. or you guys also have the authority to go in with necessary force?”


Ronald Sanchez

“With the power of a warrant we can enter a premises if we suspect that illegal or contraband goods are in the premises. But when it comes to patrols we try to do a joint effort due to the increase in threat level so we try to encourage the other enforcement units to come on board with our patrols and we coordinate from time to time to ensure that we maximize our efforts with what we have. So we do do joint patrols and everything with the police, B.D.F., coastguard at times.”


Sanchez says that the minimum fine for customs offenses is twenty thousand dollars. If someone is caught with contraband, there is an option to settle out of court. If the case is taken to court, a person may be three times the market value of the contraband goods.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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