Food Theft Ring Busted in Santiago de Cuba

Stevedores at the Port of Santiago de Cuba unloading rice / Trabajadores

By 14ymedio

HAVANA TIMES – Cuban authorities have detained a total of 78 people at the Guillermón Moncada port, in Santiago de Cuba, involved in a network of food theft of products intended for the basic rations. Of them, 59 are in provisional prison while precautionary measures have been imposed on the remaining 19.

In the operation, the Police were able to recover a total of more than 60 tons of food, including 33 tons of soy flour, 22.6 of white sugar, 3.8 of rice and two of black beans, as reported this Monday by the government’s Canal Caribe. In a brief report in which agents from the Ministry of the Interior, a prosecutor. and the vice-governor of the province, Waldis González Peinado, participated, the authorities repeated the exercise of divulging – increasingly frequent – the “zero tolerance” that they maintain with the “theft of essential products.”

The Police affirm that the number of people who participate in the successive tasks of unloading, weighing and transportation in the port makes everything work like a fine-tuned clock, and that for any movement it is necessary to involve a majority of employees. “For the commission of acts of this nature, it is practically impossible to carry out the actions alone,” explains Major Erik Miguel Martínez Ferrales, who explained the operation.

According to prosecutor Luis Felipe Garrido Torres, the transporters acted in league with the personnel responsible for weighing and agreed to pay amounts ranging from 9,000 to 18,000 pesos for each ton reported below the established weight. Afterwards, the sale of a truck of rice was agreed – cited as an example – for 200,000 or 300,000 pesos, delivering invoices that were not incorporated into the accounting and, therefore, prevented tracking the load.  (The US dollar is currently valued at 355 Cuban pesos)

Afterwards, the product reached the informal market, where each bag of rice was sold for 200 pesos per pound, allowing each of the transporters to obtain 4 million pesos, the official concluded. According to the institution’s calculations, at least five criminal actions could be detected, of which two stood out, in all of 2023, with “affects of more than 9 million pesos for the entities.”

Martínez Ferrales adds that the investigations linked the participation of 33 cargo transport vehicles from the state sector and another 26 from the private sector. In addition, the Police seized other assets allegedly obtained with the embezzled profits, including a home, a Lada 2106 vehicle and four tires.

“The facts detected typify conduct of crimes mainly classified as the crime of embezzlement, falsification of public documents, misappropriation and receiving,” adds the prosecutor. These crimes can carry sentences of between 8 and 20 years in prison.

“The leadership of the Party, the State and the Government have urged in increase in surveillance and popular control,” says the announcement. A more active role for administrations is essential, as well as guaranteeing effective prevention and control, and acting firmly within the framework of legality against any manifestation of corruption, criminal conduct and social indiscipline in order to defend and protect products intended for the people. It is a mission that cannot be postponed, the responsibility belongs to everyone and there will never be impunity,” the video concludes.

The message is part of the campaign that the authorities maintain to inform the population of relatively minor crimes, generating the feeling that they are actively working to defend the food destined for the population. Just a week ago, social networks related to the regime revealed two scams in Santa Clara, valued at 17 million pesos, although on that occasion the products did not belong to the basic family basket.

Translated by Translating Cuba.

Read more from Cuba here on Havana Times.

One thought on “Food Theft Ring Busted in Santiago de Cuba

  • It’s all about alliteration. Crooks, crime and corruption congregate in communist Cuba. Crikey!

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