ARCHIVE: Published Wednesday, September 11, 2019

This technology allows transport companies to track the route of the trucks from leaving the country to its return.  / Ministry of Finance courtesy photo.

Customs install new technology to control containers trucks

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The National Customs Service announced the installation of 23,500 high-tech radiofrequency devices, through electronic tags in trucks, for the identification and control of merchandise exported in containers.

This technology was donated by the European Union, Inter-American Development Bank, and the Central American Economic Integration Secretariat.

The electronic tags, known as TAG, will be installed on the windshield of the trucks, so the information of the container transport can be transmitted to a computer program installed on a platform.

Through TAG entry and exit records of the truck from any Central American country, as well as any alerts that have been registered against that truck in other countries.

The information will be linked and shared with the institutions involved in border control.

"The goal of these devices is to obtain information immediately about the transport trucks that cross land border posts, from Guatemala to Panama," said Juan Carlos Gómez, General Director of Customs.

According to customs, this TAG technology is part of the radio frequency antennas that were installed since February, at Customs in Peñas Blancas* and Paso Canoas*, both on the border with Panama.

According to customs, all trucks that transport export merchandise inside containers must install the TAG. The deadline for the installation of this technology is December.

This technology allows transport companies to track the route of the trucks from leaving the country to its return.

Related to cases of truck drivers linked with narcotraffickers, as A.M. Costa Rica reported in November 2018, the police in the Customs Control Center on the northern border with Nicaragua seized $1,617,259 that was hidden in a trailer that came from Honduras.

The truck driver, surname Salazar-Ramírez, was stopped at the checkpoint in Peñas Blancas on the border, in a routine operation.

The officers searched the internal part of the cooling system (known as Thermo King) where they were found several hidden packages.

At first, they suspected drugs but discovered that the packages contained bills in low denominations.

"The cash was distributed in several packages hidden in a secret compartment," said the police in its report.

The truck was transporting packages of food, which were legal and were reported in the customs declaration. After finding the money, however, the police detained the driver and seized the truck.

Police also confirmed that the truck is "owned by a Costa Rican surnamed Valverde" but that part of the cargo was, "registered in the name of the suspect himself."

According to the statistics of the drug control police during 2018 they seized approximately $3,742,634, plus $43,000 in Euros and $128,958 in colones.

The suspect could not explain the reason for the money was hidden inside his truck. He was jailed for pre-trial measures as ruled a judge of the court.

What type of controls should customs put in place to avoid the illegal transport of money, drugs, or merchandise? 
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