Operation arrests 13 suspected illegal imports and evasion


By Adriana Chaves, Agência Folha - FSP, 30/11/2004

The Federal Police of Goiás yesterday arrested 13 people - ten in Goiânia and three in Foz do Iguaçu (PR) - accused of participating in a scheme for the illegal import of goods and tax evasion. Entitled Operation Peddlers, the action was carried out jointly with the IRS.

Another 29 search and seizure warrants issued by the 5th Federal Justice Court of Goiás were served in Goiânia, the main place where the criminal organization operates, Anápolis (GO), Foz do Iguaçu and Brasília. By the end of yesterday afternoon, an arrest warrant had to be fulfilled.

Among the detainees are three owners of computer companies, appointed as leaders of the alleged organization, and a federal highway police officer. The group had been under investigation since August 2003.

According to the PF, businessmen maintained contacts in Foz do Iguaçu, on the border with Paraguay, from where most of the illegal goods were brought. The network had facilitators and middlemen who helped to board small quantities of products on buses three or four times a week.

Police Chief Valdson José Rabelo, head of the PF Police Repression Office for Police Crimes, said the group was using Federal Revenue auction auction guides to legalize smuggled goods after they entered the country.

“They [the defendants] created companies in the name of“ oranges ”so that they could participate in auctions. If there were other interested parties, these companies would increase the proposal until the process became unfeasible ”, said the delegate. PF has not yet assessed the total withheld. It is estimated that the group may have handled around R $ 55 million in 2003 alone.