Customs chief: Not enough money to prosecute smugglers
Santo Domingo.- For the first time in recent history Dominican Republic’s Customs Agency cited lack of money to prosecute a group of alleged smugglers, that include sons of former officials of the ruling PLD party.
Customs director Fernando Fernandez’s surprising announcement on Thursday came during the incineration of smuggled cigarettes, and seems to break with the hardnosed approach established by the late Customs director Miguel Cocco’s relentless pursuit of contraband.
“We don’t want to continue the prosecution on the alleged money that wasn’t paid as taxes, because we can’t continue paying attorneys for something that is now suspended,” the official said, noting that if the Justice Ministry wants to continue the case, “they are perfectly within their right to do so.”
The Customs Agency on Thursday incinerated 550,000 smuggled cigarettes of various brands, seized in raids by its intelligence agents in several parts of the country.
Fernández said the cigarettes were brought into the country without health permits and evaded taxes.
He said the cigarettes were seized between August and November in Santo Domingo, the northern and southern regions
Fernández, accompanied by Internal Taxes Agency director Guarocuya Félix, warned of a relentless fight against smuggling and other illicit activities. "We will not give an inch to those who break the law, trying to smuggle goods into the Dominican Republic."