The Court of First Guarantee held the customs agent Rodrigo Álvarez Fritz in pretrial custody, charged as a criminal of illegal cooperation in perfect competition with the crimes of smuggling and money laundering, bribery, falsification of a public instrument and tax fraud. illegally since at least 2018.
In a formality hearing, magistrate Sebastián Zulch Barrios ordered Alvarez Fritz to be admitted to prison, noting that the liberty of the accused is a threat to the safety of society, the success of the investigation, and the escape. Further, it fixed the period of investigation at 110 days.
When resolving Alvarez Fritz’s deprivation of liberty, the judge considered the multiplicity and severity of the sentences handed down, the extent of the harm, the defendant’s involvement in acting in a group or gang, and most of the crimes investigated. , In addition to posing a threat to the success of the investigation, “since important documents may be destroyed.”
In the foregoing, according to the judge, “I am convinced that this defendant’s liberty is a danger to the safety of society, a flight risk, given that in any event he will not be the beneficiary of any substitute sentence or be sentenced An advantage in the situation as well as a threat to the success of the investigation, given that he may have participated in operations in which, at a minimum, his role or personal involvement has been verified.
In addition, at the hearing, the Pudahuel Prosecutor’s Office brought charges against customs agents Mauricio Andrés Cueto Silva and Guillermo Antonio Gutiérrez Orellana as co-perpetrators of the crimes of illegal association, bribery and tax fraud in perfect competition with the crime of smuggling. Filed. Those who were subject to the precautionary measures of national arrigo, monthly signatures, prohibition to maintain contact with customs officials and prohibition to access customs facilities.
According to prosecutors, since at least 2018, Álvarez Fritz, Gutiérrez Orellana and Cueto Silva formed a criminal organization with 19 other subjects, structured under the figure of three gangs (the Cliff, Alonso and Lorenzo clans). which had illegal features of unions. Structured and hierarchical organization with defined leaders.
According to the allegation, each member performed specific and concrete roles or actions aimed at ensuring the unregulated entry into Chile of various goods from abroad, primarily the United States. Activity that reported significant benefit. To carry out their mission, the associations count on the cooperation of officials of the National Customs Service, who refrain from exercising their supervisory powers in exchange for money.
This illegal action would have allowed the three clans to enter goods totaling $1,020,643,790 in customs value, resulting in a fiscal loss of $254,301,619 in taxes that were not paid, an estimated inheritance of $1,900,000,000. with.
Within the framework of the case, called “Operation Colombia”, on Friday of last week the first hearing was held to formalize the charges against the 19 co-defendants detained by the PDI, including the five main ones.
They include Miguel Barria Guerra, who was part of the merchandise entry department, his partner Daniel Arellano, and Rodrigo Ardiaca Rivera, a former customs official who was fired after an internal investigation in 2019.
All were charged with crimes such as illicit relations, smuggling, customs fraud, bribery, kickbacks, tax fraud and money laundering.