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REPORT: Human smuggling, drug trafficking continue to plague Customs Department

The Customs Department experienced a continued trend of human smuggling and drug trafficking according to its 2010 report. Photo: VINO/File.
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI – The Customs Department has reported a continuing pattern of importations of synthetic drugs, marijuana and cocaine in the territory to meet local demand.

The 2010 annual report, which was laid in the House of Assembly on September 3, 2012, added that smugglers have been detected using scheduled ferries and aircraft services, courier services, unaccompanied luggage, freight concealments, cargo boats, sail boats and smaller boats as concealment. 

The unique position of the Virgin Islands geography, the report continued, lying as it does on the main route to the United States, allied with the proximity to the USVI and Saint Maarten/St Martin, the ease of inter-island travel and open coastlines, all continue to contribute to making smuggling difficult to detect. 

It was further stated in the report that the BVI has become a favourite transshipment point for many years. Large scale marijuana smuggling was prevalent from the 70s with cocaine being encountered from the early 80s, largely by way of “airdrops”, however for the past five years or more intelligence was not received any [such activity] or seizure [executed to indicate] that drugs are being dropped. This information led to the suspicion that smugglers are using different methods of concealment. 

It was also noted that apart from this, the issues of human smuggling and inadequate facilities for clearing passengers and cargo at various ports, especially at West End and Road Town, proved to be significant challenges. 

Touching on the issue of commercial goods, the report indicated that smuggling of commercial goods for the Department. Despite the large penalties being imposed over the past four years, it continued, small boat and yacht traffic between St Thomas, Tortola and the Caribbean islands is increasing annually. Therefore, Customs increased their presence on the sea and conducted land and sea operations simultaneously to control the flow of illegal items into the territory. 

The Customs Department, which celebrated its 35th Anniversary as a Department in 2010 under the current Customs Management Act, drew in excess of $30m for the reported period through its various revenue collection avenues.


6 Responses to “REPORT: Human smuggling, drug trafficking continue to plague Customs Department”

  • wet well (10/09/2012, 14:58) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    wade boy school children say dem want you on vacatio again
  • Introspect (10/09/2012, 17:04) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Duuuuhh!!! These issues will continue to plague our beloved BVI if people on the inside are part of the problem!
    • one eye roster (10/09/2012, 23:12) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      most of the drugs and human trafficking pass through St. Martin.
  • street man (10/09/2012, 17:52) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Hope the UK not using the customs to do their dirty work!

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