The Belize Police Department, through Senior Superintendent of Police Howell Gillett, participated in a workshop in El Salvador along the police departments of that country and Guatemala. The workshop was focused in stopping cigarette smuggling. Representatives from the three countries shared their experiences about challenges faced cigarette smugglingand experiences on better border security mechanisms on the contraband of cigarettes. According to Gillett, El Salvador, Guatemala and Belize agreed to establish a commission to deal with the problem.
“Coming out of that meeting we were able to secure courses for police officers here in Belize. I believe the dates are the 8th and 9th of August where our counterparts from the other countries that I mentioned will be here inclusive of the Guatemalans will be here for those two days to discuss not only the contraband of cigarettes but also the illicit trade including drugs, human smuggling and other top items will be discussed on the agenda and then there will be follow up courses in the other countries so police officers will be trained and we are happy to if there is nothing forthcoming otherwise our officers will be trained and they will know how to deal with these tough issues”
Many of the contraband cigarettes of different brands enter the country illegally causing the Government to lose millions of dollars in tax. Authorities believe that the commercialization of contraband cigarettes generates massive amount of revenues for gangs. They use this money to carry out their crimes.