British Virgin Islands

Saturday, Sep 18, 2021

Customs: Fake gov’t cheques, drugs imported through courier service

Customs: Fake gov’t cheques, drugs imported through courier service

A vast amount of goods are now entering the BVI through local courier services and Her Majesty’s Customs recently found drugs and fraudulent government cheques inside one of those packages.

Speaking on ZBVI Radio recently, Deputy Commissioner of Customs Clinton Romney said there has been an increase in the importation of drugs through these courier services.

He, however, said criminals seem to have elevated the types of illicit items they import into the territory.

“The canine unit along with officers from Beef Island [recently] made a discovery of contraband — marijuana. But inside that particular box, there were other boxes and in one of those packages there were some cheques that we discovered to be fraudulent. Those cheques amounted to somewhere under $40,000,” Romney reported.

“So, one thing leads to the next. Yes, we would receive fraudulent invoices that persons would submit to make their declaration. But in this case, we actually saw fraudulent documents in terms of government cheques coming into the territory,” he stated.

Hard to get a conviction

Romney said illicit items are being imported through all the courier services that utilise local ports.

And while the Customs Department’s detection rate is up, Romney said they have a challenge determining the persons importing these contraband.

“Our ultimate goal is to get convictions. [But] for cargo that comes through a courier that it is consigned to ‘John Doe’, it is very difficult that we could prepare a case, send it to the DPP, and get a conviction,” he explained.

However, he said Her Majesty’s Customs has devised a solution which has already been brought to government officials. BVI News will share more information on this in a subsequent publication.


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