GUATEMALA CITY – An Asian man has been arrested alongside two Guatemalans in the capital of the Central American country after being accused of coordinating the entry of a container of cigarettes smuggled from China, judicial sources said.
According to an investigation by the Public Ministry, the three men are accused of customs fraud and violating intellectual property rights.
Through the A&R World Guatemala, S.A. company, the detainees allegedly coordinated the entry of a container from the Chinese port city of Shanghai carrying counterfeit contraband cigarettes.
The three men have been identified as the company’s general manager Myoung Jin Kim, a man of Asian descent whose nationality was not revealed, the company’s Guatemalan import and exports manager Axel Javier Chinchilla Segura and another Guatemalan national Oscar Daniel Zamora Mendez.
According to investigations by the district attorney, on Feb. 1, 2015, the vessel WAN HAI 513 arrived at the Pacific Ocean port of Puerto Quetzal with a container listed as carrying 650 rolls of polyester fabric.
Inside the container authorities discovered only 55 rolls of cloth and 1,012 boxes of cigarettes – more than 10 million units – in the container which listed Mexico as its final destination.
The prosecutor has said the men’s goal was to evade taxes, costing the state roughly $196,000 in import fees.
Guatemala has so far this year confiscated over 50 million cigarettes smuggled into the country, losing more than $784,000 to tax fraud.
In the past decade, authorities have impounded more than 216 million cigarettes brought into the country illegally, which would have amounted to over $3.8 million in taxes.