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Sep 25, 2008

Customs bust another container of fake cigarettes

There is another bust by Customs to report today at the Port Compound. Information to News Five late this evening confirms that when a suspect container was opened this afternoon, a variety of fake cigarettes were found. The counterfeit cigarettes are estimated be have a value of around four million dollars, and consigned to Parra Castillo International, a company that operates in the Commercial Free Zone. The find today follows yesterday’s sensational bust of three containers loaded with pseudoephedrine and counterfeit goods. The illegal drugs and merchandise are being kept in a secret location and will be destroyed shortly.

Meanwhile, News Five’s investigations today unearthed details of the company, Mi Agape International, named in the bust yesterday to which the illegal cargo was consigned. The two containers were loaded with close to twenty million pills of pseudoephedrine and counterfeit merchandise. The probe revealed that the company was in fact a boutique that has gone out of business for four years in the Commercial Free Zone and registered in the name of Florencio Marin Jr., Martha Marin and Alva Natalia Marin. News Five has also learnt that in July 2008, the company and two lots were acquired for forty thousand dollars by a Mexican businessman who also operates in the Commercial Free Zone, one Jesus Solis Song. The paperwork and transfer of titles, however, were not completed, according to documents received by News Five, duly signed by Alba Garcia, of AHG Consulting, that was contracted to effect the transfer. Garcia says in a written statement of today’s date, that Solis also paid for annual returns for 2006 and 2007 for the company and that she requested but never received the pertinent information to complete the transfer of title. It is also known that Solis also purchased another company, Tri Sisters, registered in the Free Zone, for which he cleared four years of arrears. Collector of Customs, Collin Griffith, told News Five late this afternoon that Mi Agape is in the process of transferring to the new name of GE Logistics. Griffith also said that Mi Agape, through its broker, had informed Customs that the shipment was not theirs.

It is believed that a pattern is emerging in respect of the consignees of the cargo. It appears that the shipments are consigned in the name of the companies, all registered at the Free Zone, without their knowledge.

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