Four persons are now in custody after the wounding of two Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) enforcement officers in a shootout last Thursday night at Bee Hive, East Coast Demerara, where they were conducting an operation to intercept smuggled liquor and chicken.
A source told Sunday Stabroek that all four persons were arrested on Friday. This newspaper was previously told that two persons were taken into custody for questioning on Friday.
GRA officers Ricky Chowbay and Roopnarine Singh were shot to the right and left hand, respectively, during an anti-smuggling operation, when unknown persons opened fire on them. They were both rushed to a private hospital, where they were treated and then released.
This newspaper was told that acting on intelligence, Chowbay and Singh went to Bee Hive to search a house for uncustomed goods when they came under fire around 9.50 pm.
The GRA, in a statement issued on Friday, said a team of officers coordinated an approach to intercept a motor vessel and motor vehicles suspected to be transporting uncustomed alcoholic beverages and foreign chicken at Bee Hive.
During the exercise, GRA said the officers observed a white Toyota motor car turning into the street and stopping in front the house that was under surveillance. “The occupants of the motor vehicle exited and proceeded to maliciously shoot at the Law Enforcement and Investigation Division (LEID) officers with an undisclosed number and caliber of firearms,” the statement said.
As a result, the GRA noted that the officers were forced to take “evasive action” and defensively returned fire. “The perpetrators then retreated to their motor vehicle and sped away, which allowed the LEID officers to regroup and exit the location safely,” the statement added.
It was at this point, it said, that the officers realised that they were shot. The shooting was immediately reported to the police.
“Despite the constant threat to their lives, LEID officers of the GRA continue to fearlessly execute their duty in an effort to safeguard the country’s revenue and curb the scourge of smuggling,” the GRA explained.
When Stabroek News visited the scene on Friday, residents recalled hearing the gunshots echoing throughout the area.