Highlights — 12 February 2013 — by Albert Ciego

Customs officials have brought charges of obstruction, damage to property and trafficking contraband goods against a resident of San Victor, Corozal. Customs are seeking to further levy a charge of $15,000 against him for the contraband. The man will be taken to the Corozal Magistrate’s Court tomorrow to face the charges, a Customs official told Amandala today.

Customs said that the incident arose on Tuesday, February 5, while they were conducting operations and a road block to intercept contraband goods on the Buena Vista Road in Orange Walk, when a vehicle drove up at high speed, and refused to stop despite the fact that they waved at the driver to stop, said Customs, but the vehicle drove through the road block anyhow, almost knocking down a policeman and a customs officer who were standing near the check point.

Customs said that they immediately chased the vehicle, and there was a high speed chase from Buena Vista, Orange Walk, to the San Victor Village area in Corozal. Customs said that when the vehicle was finally caught in the San Victor area, the vehicle was found empty; the occupants had escaped into the cane fields.

Customs said that shortly after, another vehicle slammed into the Customs mobile unit deliberately, damaging the rear of the vehicle, and the two Customs officers who were standing outside the vehicle were almost hit, and they ran for safety.

Customs said that immediately after slamming their vehicle, the driver reversed and opened his door to flee, but they stopped him. He was identified, they said, as the nephew of the driver of the vehicle they had chased.

When they searched his vehicle, they said, they found contraband goods.

On top of the contraband charges, Customs said that they will also charge him for the deliberate damage to their vehicle.

Customs denied pulling their guns and firing at him, or beating him. They said that when he slammed into the rear of their vehicle, he suffered injuries to his face and head, causing his face to bleed.

However, a niece of the man charged with contraband told police that she was travelling into San Victor Village when she saw a collision and stopped, and saw that it was her uncle. She said that the Customs thought that he was transporting contraband, and had stopped in front of him, and when he stopped, they pulled him out of his vehicle and beat him.

She said that her uncle’s face was bleeding, and that Customs had fired at him, injuring his leg.

A nephew of the uncle came to his aid, but, she alleges, he was shot at by officers. The nephew said he was very lucky to be alive, and that he would take court action against Customs.

Customs officials said, however, that there was no truth to the allegation, and that the man was carrying contraband goods.

The names of the men are withheld, because they have not yet gone to court.

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