News day / Previously the money was being heavily guard by IATF officers round the clock. But, on Thursday at about midday, police officers escorted Customs and Excise officers to the Central Bank where the money was placed in another vault in an area where TT currency is kept. That area is guarded round the clock by security officers of the Central Bank and the access to the area is virtually impossible except for those who have access to the area.
Newsday understands that the decision to move the seized cash came about after it was determined that keeping the money at the Customs and Excise Department could be a security risk.
Officers who had been assigned to carry out guard duties at the Customs and Excise Department also expressed fear for their own safety.
While customs officers working at the customs and Excise building had also concern.
Newsday understands that a plot to steal the US 2 million was discovered by law enforcement officers, hence the decision to have the money guarded around the clock. Sources revealed yesterday that the US 2 million originated in Tortola then moved to Jamaica and then Trinidad.
False documents were used to have the money which was placed in a container with plywood arrived in this country to be cleared.
The homes of several local businessmen were searched by the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) along with customs and Excise as part of the investigation.
An official from the US Customs and Excise Division arrived in the country a few days ago and has been recording the serial numbers and the money to determine when it was printed and where it originated from in the United States. Sources also revealed that Drug Enforcement Officers DEA based at the US Embassy at Marli Street Port of Spain are also assisting in the investigation. Yesterday Customs and Excise officers expressed relief that the moneys have been moved to Central Bank.
On Monday November 22, it was reported that the US 2 million was found in a container at the Port in Point Lisas and impounded at a Customs building.
After it was discovered that a plot had been made to steal the money, by deadly force if necessary, Customs and Excise officers, along with heavily armed officers of the IATF locked down the Customs building on Ajax Street where the money was being held.
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