Customs official held in smuggling probe

The head of customs at the Paso Canoas frontier post has been detained because officials think he was involved in the theft of a shipping container of cigarettes.

The Ministerio de Hacienda, which includes the Direccion General de Aduana, and the prosecutors at the Ministerio Público said Wednesday that the man, Luis Alberto Juárez Ruiz, had been taken into custody.

They said that the value of the merchandise, the cigarettes, was 400 million colons or about $760,000.

The container with the merchandise had been held up at the border because the shipper lacked a permit from the Ministerio de Salud, said the announcement of the arrest. Then it vanished. That was in April.

In June the container turned up when they broke up a gang involved in smuggling, said the report.

The Ministerio de Hacienda said that in the last few months three members of the Policía de Control Fiscal or tax police were suspended in investigations of extortion and dereliction of duty.aduana090315

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