Customs intercepts more weapons, drugs, tobacco contraband, money and medicines at Cuban airports

Customs intercepts more weapons, drugs, tobacco contraband, money and medicines at Cuban airports

HAVANA, March 21st. Illegalities have increased on Cuba’s borders, mainly at the entrances and exit through the country’s airports, where a greater number of incidents linked to drugs, smuggling and firearms have been recorded, the program said this Tuesday. State television Round Table by the head of the General Customs of the Republic Nelson Cordovés Reyes.

“Many people try to import means and resources that are not established in the country, parts, pieces of weapons, knuckles and a whole group of elements that threaten the safety of people, including weapons, specifically firearms and pneumatic weapons”, commented Cordovés Reyes, quoted by the official media Cubadsebate.

He explained that the import of pneumatic weapons, up to 4.5 caliber, is authorized in the country. “There are those who make abusive use of this, bring two, three, repeat, and the decision that was made in this regard was to allow the importation of a single weapon of this type because they are extremely dangerous, and although they are approved, they can be dangerous for children and young people, so it is an issue to observe,” he said.

The official also said that “there are people who have tried to bring in weapons above this dimension of 4.5 caliber.”

In addition to the increase in violations related to weapons, Cordovés Reyes specified that “the other fundamental line of work is the issue of drugs.”

“In 2023, 55 cases of smuggling were worked on at the border, together with the Ministry of the Interior. In the last 15 years, we have never had that number. That means that many people are trying to violate our borders to introduce drugs into the country. of all kinds,” he said.

In 2023, 38 more cases were reported in Cuba than in 2022, and 50kg of substances were seized at the border. “There have already been 17 cases this year and the quarter has not ended, nearly 99kg of drugs have been seized,” he noted.

Regarding the entry points, the official said that, although previously these were focused on the airports of Havana, Santiago de Cuba and Camagüey, “this behavior has been changing, and the way of hiding it has been diversifying: in food, compote for children, milk, condiments…”.

“There is also an attempt to carry out drug trafficking through the introduction of medications that are prohibited on the international list of medications, such as psychotropic drugs. In a recent assessment we were looking at 73,000 tablets that have tried to enter the country,” he said.

Regarding illegal actions at exits, the official stressed that “what we do most is try to export medicines that are insured in the country.”

Likewise, “the issue of money has become a trend, and people trying to violate the regulations established by the Central Bank of Cuba.” The rule for leaving the country establishes that the maximum amount of money that travelers can withdraw is 5,000 in any of the currencies.

In 2023, 233 violations were detected and more than 5,000,000 pesos in national currency and 420,000 dollars were confiscated. “Already in 2024, 135 violations have been detected, and we have seized 3,200,000 pesos and 91,000 dollars. This is a trend that has been increasing and on which we are working hard,” said Cordovés Reyes.

Regarding smuggling, he said that most of the cases were detected in attempts to take a significant volume of tobacco out of the country, with rings or without rings, which violates the rule that each traveler can only carry two boxes of tobacco and these must be closed. The official also mentioned that “they have tried to extract the tobacco permits, the leaves and the instruments to work them.”

In 2023, Customs detected 99 violations of customs regulations regarding tobacco. So far in 2024, 141 have been reported, Cordovés Reyes noted.