The Special Organized Crime Unit (SOCU) has stepped up its activities. Yesterday it conducted several raids on gold traders and other businessman.
The operations followed those conducted last week when millions of dollars in local and foreign cash was seized from a home on the East Coast of Demerara. That matter is still in the High Court.
Yesterday morning, Kaieteur News learnt, officials from what has been described as the country’s elite organized crime fighting unit, descended simultaneously on a number of homes on the West Bank and East Demerara areas.
The teams also included police officials and at least one foreign official.
According to one gold trader, SOCU official and the police were “very professional” when they went to his East Bank Demerara home at 05:00hrs.
“They ask if I had gold and when I said yes, they asked to see it. They took photographs of about 10 ounces I had and they left.”
It appears SOCU’s activities were conducted throughout the day also.
It is unclear if anyone was arrested or anything seized.
Head of SOCU, Sydney James, was not immediately available for a comment.
SOCU has been spearheading investigations into gold smuggling with the new administration last year disclosing that the issue has caused the country to lose significant revenues.
It has also been targeting persons believed to have been involved in money laundering.
The US and its main law enforcement arm, the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), has been assisting Guyana with investigations with the names of a number of traders and other others suspected of smuggling, handed over to local authorities.
Gold regained its lead as the country’s top foreign currency earner, last year rising to 451,000 ounces despite reduced world prices.
This year, declarations are tapped at a conservative 550,000 ounces but local miners believe it will be much more.
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