Court seizes $2.2M in undeclared currency
Re-migrant Guyanese Clairmont Reid is counting losses totaling $2,264,425 (US$11,045.98) after the monies were forfeited from him by Chief Magistrate Ann McLennan; he was also fined $250,000 with an alternative of six months’ imprisonment for failing to declare the cash while he was an incoming passenger at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA).
Reid, 37, of South Vryheid Lust, East Coast Demerara was charged for knowingly making an untrue declaration on a customs declaration form. In an answer to question five on the form, he ticked that he was carrying less than US$10,000, when he was carrying TT$139,135 which is equivalent to US$21,045.98. Initially, the father of three had pleaded not guilty to the charge and was released on $100,000 bail. However, he opted to plead guilty yesterday, after receiving advice from his Attorney, Dexter Todd. Police Prosecutor, Neville Jeffers, told the court that the monies were seized from Reid by Customs Officers at the CJIA on June 6, last. He said that the man was at the time an incoming passenger at the airport after disembarking a Caribbean Airline flight from Trinidad and Tobago. Jeffers said that Reid uplifted his baggage and handed over the declaration form to a Customs Officer. “Upon checking the form it was observed that Reid ticked no to the fifth question he was required to answer,” Jeffers related.
According to the Prosecutor, the question stated, “I am (we are) carrying currency or monetary instrument over US$10,000 or equivalent.” Prosecutor Jeffers disclosed that the monies were unearthed after a search was conducted on Reid’s luggage. During the search he told the Customs Officer that there is a possibility he might be carrying Trinidad and Tobago currency. The prosecutor stated that Reid was questioned as to why he failed to declare the cash and told officials that he was carrying monies for persons and did not see the need state it on the declaration form. The Special Organized Crime Unit (SOCU) took possession of the TT$139,135 to conduct investigations.