(Photo: Telam)

Between October 2015 and August 2016, over US $79.3 million (AR $1.6 billion) in goods were smuggled into the country with the help of the so-called “Container Mafia.”

Eleven people have been accused of moving the contraband into the country illegally, including the alleged godfather of this mafia, Claudio Minnicelli, the brother-in-law of Julio de Vido, the former Planning Minister who was detained last August. Other high-profile individuals linked to this scheme include the ex-Director of Customs of the Port of Buenos Aires, Edgardo Paolucci, and the ex-Director of the former Intelligence Secretariat (SIDE) Héctor Daniel López. Most recently, in January the presiding Judge Marcelo Aguinsky requested the extradition of two businessmen from the US to Argentina regarding this case.

Rather than letting the items sit in evidence collection warehouses for years, as we often see in movies, federal security forces are about to put some of them to good use. Approximately 30 percent of the items confiscated by Customs Authorities will be divided between the Federal Police, Coast Guard, and Border Patrol (Gendarmería). These include 32 motorcycles, two ATVs, two jet skis, and a series of tech items such as drones, TV monitors, laptops, tablets, cell phones, cameras, and GoPros. Snowsuits and motorcycle gear will also be added to the calvary.

During a press conference at the Federal Administration of Public Revenue (AFIP), Security

Minister Patricia Bullrich stated that “the seizures are huge, and [include] many things that are really useful to work with and operate.” Bullrich added that the televisions will be installed in monitoring centers in preparation for the larger G20 security measures, and computers to be used for tasks during onsite security raids and seizures. The snowsuits will be designated to the Border Patrol squads in the mountain regions.

The new Customs Director General Diego Dávila remarked on the work done between all the agencies to ensure proper seizure of the goods, calling the agreement and cooperation “unprecedented.”

Indeed this is a big win for security forces, a real upgrade in accessible materials. You know the saying, if life gives you lemons, hop on a jet ski and go droning.