The Guyana Police Force has launched an investigation into reports that a number of Enforcement Officers from the Guyana Revenue Authority came under heavy gunfire from a “known” smuggler on the East Coast of Demerara just as the officers were about to carry out a search of his premises.
A Senior Police Force told News Source that the incident occurred on Wednesday evening as the group of Customs Enforcement Officers were approaching the Mahaica premises of the businessman. According to the Police Source, reports received so far, indicated that just after the GRA officers identified themselves to the smuggling suspect, they were greeted with heavy gunfire and were forced to run for cover and return fire.
The source said while the GRA officers were armed with handguns, the suspect and his workers returned fire with high powered shotguns which appeared to be sub-machine guns and AK-47 rifles.
“The customs officers had no choice but to run and duck for cover and to return fire, although their fire power could not match what was coming from the smuggler”, the source said.
News Source understands that the officers had to eventually retreat from the area, as many of them feared for their lives and appeared convinced that the men had been given orders to execute them.
A full report was lodged at the Cove and John Police Station and the matter is said to be under investigation. It is unclear whether police ranks visited the suspected smuggler’s premises.
The man, according to reports, is known for smuggling fuel, chicken, liquor from neighbouring countries and has been tracked by the GRA several times over the past years.
Some senior officers at the Guyana Revenue Authority have expressed concern over the safety of the enforcement officers who are forced to investigate and break up smuggling rings across the country. The investigation is ongoing.