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Jul 16, 2008

Immigration officer charged with Evasion of Customs Duties

Story PictureThe case involving an immigration officer who allegedly facilitated the entry of undeclared U.S. currency came up this morning at the Magistrates’ Court. The officer, twenty nine year old Maria Guerra, along with a twenty year old San Ignacio businessman, was charged with Evasion of Custom Duties this morning. On May thirty-first, at the Phillip Goldson Airport, Guerra and Aldana allegedly knowingly attempted to evade the laws and custom restrictions by importing a total of eleven thousand, five hundred dollars in U.S. currency into Belize without declaring the monies.

At the current rate of exchange, the monies have a market value of twenty-three thousand, two hundred and one dollars in Belize currency, for which the Comptroller of Customs will forfeit three times the market value amounting to just under seventy thousand dollars which Guerra and Aldana, if convicted, will have to pay. Aldana was additionally slapped with a charge of making a false declaration by failing to declare one piece of baggage that contained the U.S. currency. Both pleaded not guilty and were released on bail of five thousand dollars each. The two were under surveillance in a sting operation, which yielded results when police claim they saw Aldana place a package on Guerra’s workstation at the P.G.I.A. and the officer was detained as she picked up the package which, when opened, contained the money.

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