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Venezuelan nabbed at Sangster Airport after swallowing US$103,500

Thursday, August 14, 2014 | 5:07 PM    

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KINGSTON, Jamaica – A 40-year-old Venezuelan man was sentenced on Thursday, August 14 to three months behind bars after police charged him for attempting to smuggle US$103,500 concealed in 80 cylindrical pellets he swallowed.

According to a statement from the police, Eddy Alberio Mancipe Ortega’s behaviour raised the suspicion of the law enforcement officers who stopped him as he attempted to board a Caribbean Airlines flight from Sangster International Airport to Trinidad on Monday, January 20.

Ortega reportedly complained about feeling ill and was taken to the Cornwall Regional Hospital where he was admitted.

During a two day period, the police say he excreted 80 cylindrical plastic packages which were found to contain approximately US$1200 each. A total of US$103,500 was recovered.

The Financial Investigation Division (FID) was informed and a team despatched to investigate the matter.

At the conclusion of the investigation Ortega was charged with four breaches of the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) and placed before the courts.

On sentencing, Resident Magistrate, Carolin Tie ordered that the money be forfeited under the cash seizure provisions of the POCA 2007.

A deportation order was granted with immediate effect, since Ortega had been in custody for eight months.

 “This is the first instance that we have found cash being smuggled from Jamaica in such a fashion, it is indicative of how far persons will go in an effort to evade detection by Law Enforcement tasked with combating money laundering,  Justin Felice the Chief Technical Director at FID said.

“FID along with our partners in the JCF and other Agencies are committed to “taking the profit out of crime” and will continue to robustly apply the legislation available to allow us to do so.”

This incident brings the total amount of cash forfeited to the Government of Jamaica since the April 1 2014, to J$ 88,302,525. This figure does not include the hundreds of millions in real estate and vehicles that have also been seized and restrained by the FID pending further investigations.

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