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100 Sacks of Garlic Allegedly Smuggled from Guyana Seized in Brazil

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18th of July, 2020. Region 9, Guyana, South America.

The Brazilian Police has confirmed that it has seized 100 sacks of garlic which was allegedly transported into Brazil illegally across the Guyana/Brazil border in Region 9, Guyana, South America. Each sack weights an estimated 10 KG.

Although garlic is not necessarily expensive in Brazil, there is a competitive edge in buying it from Guyana or other countries and reselling in Brazil. However, since Brazil imposes extremely high taxes on all imports, it would be impossible to make a profit by trading it the legal way. Further, the amount of licenses and bureaucratic processes required to import into Brazil is often exhaustive, and especially so for someone who just wants to sell a few bags of garlic.

Consequently, smuggling garlic into Brazil from Region 9 has reportedly become a common activity. In one incident, the Guyana police was said to have seized a vehicle of garlic in the Rupununi Savannahs on the grounds that they knew that the persons in possession of it were trying to smuggle it across to Brazil. However, at that time, the garlic was clearly in the Rupununi Savannahs and there was no solid proof that the owners of the garlic were en route to Brazil.

On another occasion, the Guyana police was criticized for seizing a quantity of garlic in the possession of persons near to the Rupununi River at the Guyana/Brazil border. The police accused the persons of being en route to smuggling the garlic illegally into Brazil. However, there is no law under which these persons could have been charged since they were still on Guyana soil and there is no way to prove beyond the shadow of a doubt what they would have done next. Nevertheless, they were reportedly charged and the garlic seized.

The authorities in Lethem have been noted for seizing and dumping tons of garlic which were either intercepted en route to Brazil from Region 9 or which was suspected to be destined for an illegal crossing into Brazil. Passing by the GRA office in Lethem, Region 9 on one occassion, I saw about a ton of garlic dumped by the side of the GRA building in the GRA compound.

The Rupununi Savannahs of Guyana in Region 9 shares a miles-long border with Brazil, and although most goods cross the legal way, it is not difficult for Guyanese and Brazilians who live in the Rupununi to make illegal border crossings. There is usually no soldier or police patrol along the Guyana/Brazil border as it is considered a free zone. On this note, free trade is allowed between the border towns of Lethem in Guyana and Bonfim in Brazil as long as the commodities do not go past the defined areas.

The following was translated from Brazil Media:

Mechanic is arrested in Boa Vista with 100 bags of garlic smuggled from Guyana. A man was arrested on Avenida Brasil after trying to escape from the Military Police.

A 47-year-old mechanic was arrested carrying a load of 100 bags of garlic on Avenida Brasil, south of Boa Vista, at dawn on Friday (17). He even tried to evade the approach, the Military Police said.

The man was seen by the PM traveling with the car ‘well lowered’ and only with the parking lights on.

Upon seeing the stop order, he sped towards the Children’s Hospital. In a stretch of the road he got out of the car, still moving, but ended up being arrested by the police.

According to the PM, he confessed that the garlic was smuggled from Guyana and would be handed over to a man known as “Garlic Zé”. According to the police, each bag weighed 10 kg.

The mechanic was taken to the Flagrant Central and, according to the PM, he is a repeat offender in the same crime.

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