A Taiwanese company on Thursday denied that it had sent a shipment of cocaine paste to Guatemala under the guise of its legitimate product, ultraviolet glazing oil.
Heyio Enterprise said the cocaine paste seized on Monday by Guatemalan anti-narcotics officers must have been substituted for its oil shipment en route to Puerto Quetzal.
In a statement issued on Thursday, the Republic of China embassy in Guatemala confirmed that a cargo ship had arrived in Guatemala carrying 17.6 tonnes of coca paste, the first crude extraction product from coca leaves, in the shipment from Heyio Enterprise in Kaohsiung.
The shipment of cocaine paste was seized by Guatemalan anti-narcotics authorities on Monday, the embassy said.
The bill of lading showed that 16,000kg of UV glazing oil had been shipped from Heyio Enterprise to Alder Trading Co in Guatemala and US$68,690 had been paid in advance for the product, the embassy said.
Guatemalan investigators suspect that Alder Trading Co is a front for an illegal operation, the embassy said.
However, Heyio’s sales manager William Tsai denied the company had sent a shipment of cocaine paste and said he suspected that the UV glazing oil had been substituted with the illegal substance in Mexico, where the cargo was unloaded for customs inspection.
Heyio manufactures chemical raw materials and its main product is UV glazing oil, a common product used for the glazing of magazine covers and books, Tsai said.
He said the company uses only “free on board” shipping, which means the buyer is responsible for the shipping arrangements.
Heyio is only responsible for making the product and taking it to the port in Kaohsiung, where the company is based, he said.
The company has been shipping products to a Guatemalan buyer for the past two to three years without any trouble and it was only the last two or three shipments that had been sent to Alder Trading, at the request of the buyers, to help with the delivery, Tsai said.
Tsai said it is his understanding that Alder Trading ships goods from Kaohsiung to Guatemala via South Korea and Mexico.
The Kaohsiung Customs Office said the cargo in question was shipped from Kaohsiung in June and the documents showed that the UV glazing oil was in the C1 category, which means it was not subject to cargo examination.
Tsai said his company has a good export track record and has made three shipments to its Guatemalan client so far this year. He said the company is still trying to obtain more information from its client about the cocaine case.
Heyio Enterprise is a legally registered company in Taiwan that was established Jan. 6, 2005.