… over 800lbs of chicken seized, 1 arrested
Gunshots rang out in the quiet, close-knit village of Belfield, East Coast Demerara (ECD) on Thursday morning when Police swooped down on several chicken smugglers.
Based on information received, after realising that the law enforcement officials were in the area and closing in on them, the smugglers retaliated by opening fire which prompted the ranks to follow suit.
It is unclear as to how many men were involved in the shootout as they tried to evade arrest.
Police Commander Royston Andries-Junor related that the Police managed to seize over 830lbs of chicken and were also able to nab one suspect who is assisting with investigations.
Meanwhile, the chicken, which was parcelled off in 83 red coloured packets weighing 10lbs each, were handed over to the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) which has also launched a probe into the incident.
Another Police Officer investigating the crime stated that at present, it is believed that the large quantity of chicken was smuggled into Guyana from neighbouring Suriname.
It was then transported/brought to the ECD to be distributed/sold to outlets, specifically during the Christmas season when there is usually a high demand for the product.
Less than three weeks ago, an officer of the Customs Anti-Narcotics Unit (CANU) was shot while on an anti-smuggling operation.
It was reported that the officer was shot while on a joint exercise with the Police and Customs.
The team had been in the Mahaica area when men said to be working with a well-known smuggler opened fire resulting in the CANU rank being hit in his shoulder with a bullet.
Minutes prior to the shooting, the team had intercepted a boatload of suspected contraband.
Again, in July last, an operation spearheaded by the Customs Department of the GRA, in collaboration with ranks in Berbice and the ECD led to the seizure of some 400 boxes of smuggled chicken and 60 boxes of assorted liquor and beers, according to reports.
The Customs and GPF ranks had swooped down at a location in Mahaicony, ECD, as several men were in the process of offloading the items onto waiting vehicles. While it was said that the men had escaped, the GRA officials seized two boats, three engines, two buses and two cars.
It was reported that the items were being smuggled for a known smuggler who resides at Annandale, ECD.
GRA has been clamping down on smuggling in Guyana. Commissioner-General Godfrey Statia earlier this year said that it is costing the economy millions of dollars through revenue losses.
Additionally, he had also said that millions of dollars in revenues have been recouped from seizures of illegal fuel over the past three years, as the GRA continues to dent the ‘Black Market’ with support from its sister agencies. (Kristen Macklingam)