GRA ARRESTS 5 ALCOHOL ‘SMUGGLERS’ FROM BISSAU

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By Omar Bah

Officers of the Mobile Brigade, Intelligence and Investigations Unit of the Gambia Revenue Authority, on Monday arrested five people for alleged smuggling of alcoholic beverages from Guinea Bissau through the Dimbaya border.

The suspects were three Senegalese, a Rwandese and a Gambian.

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According to reliable sources, the officers, acting on a tip off from a source, laid an ambush around the outskirts of Dimbaya village and trailed the suspects from Dimbaya to Jabang where they were eventually arrested.

Reacting to the arrest, the Deputy Commissioner General, Essa Jallow, informed reporters that the authority has seen an increase in the level of smuggling activities involving alcoholic beverages of recent due to the high demand for these products during the Christmas and New Year festivities. “December is the peak period for alcoholic consumption in the country due to the Christmas and New Year festivities coupled with the boom in tourist arrival during this period.

The smugglers are using this opportunity to engage in the illegal importation of alcoholic beverages to increase their income generating opportunities. Just a few weeks before this arrest, officers of GRA were engaged in a hot pursuit of smugglers around the same Dimbaya village resulting in an accident in which some staff of GRA sustained injuries and damage caused to a GRA vehicle,” Commissioner Jallow said.

He advised the public to desist from such activities, adding that GRA will use the full force of the law to prosecute all those involved in all forms of illegal importations.

“The Authority therefore solicits the support and cooperation of the communities around our porous borders in combating the illegal smuggling of alcohol into the country. Investigations are ongoing to unravel those behind the smuggling,” he added.