Acting Director of Customs denies allegations that he demanded the return of confiscated items

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Guam – Yesterday an email was sent to local media expressing disappointment in the recent appointment of Eric Palacios as the Acting Director of Customs and Quarantine, it even raise allegations that Palacios was attempting to go above the law.

In total three emails were received, one expressing disappointment and raising allegations against Palacios, the second requesting to remain anonymous and a third claiming to have possibly been hacked. But is there any truth to the first email?

Patti Arroyo asked, “Are you saying that there is no truth to it? To the email?”

“No truth to the allegations that were made in the email? Oh no no truth at all. no truth at all,” declared Palacios.

While he was adamant that there was no truth to the email, it did have some factual basis, like Palacios arriving on a flight and that he did get flagged. While the first email indicated that he was attempting to bring in butterfly knives, Palacios only referred to the items as gifts.

“You know like our PIO had put out yesterday, and this is referring to the confiscation of the alleged of the gifts. That is factual I did arrive on a flight and the one thing I want to highlight is that the customs officers did a good job no one is above the law not even me and I don’t expect to be,” confirmed Palacios.

In the first email the source indicated that Palacios demanded the items back and made a call to the Chief Vincent Perez in an attempt to have it returned, that attempt was allegedly unfruitful.

That may be a half truth as Palacios says he did make three calls one of which was to Chief Perez to ask for guidance but not demand the return as alleged in the email.

“So even that part where it says I demanded chief to return the item that’s not true at all. He had given me a number of I guess their property manager and the options he had gave me was that I could return it to the country of origin and I didn’t want to go through that process. I did not want to invest the time or the money to send the gifts back to my brother in law and I left it at that,” explained Palacios.

Palacios praised the Customs officer stating “kudos to them, it’s great working with people who do their job correctly.”

“Like I said they did a good job flagging the item. You know in fact as I was going through the interception process and then they handed me the interception report to me they included a number for me to call later that morning because I had arrived about 530 in the morning some where around there and so they included a number on the document and follow up on the items on the status of the item,” shared the Acting Director.

Another point in the email that may be on the right track is that Palacios has limited knowledge or experience in border protection and as demonstrated is not familiar with what is allowed or isn’t. However, in filling a Director’s spot it does not require a background in Law enforcement, it would be beneficial.

Palacios was asked if he concerned that Officers are disappointed, or worried that the rank and file may not support your leadership.

“Well if anything it will motivate me to show them that I was placed there to do a job and that is to support all of them and the agency. I am very fortunate that I’ve got seasoned professionals who is around me up at the agency,” responded Palacios.

 

SOURCEJolene Toves
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Jolene Toves
Jolene joined the PNC team in 2017, as a producer, co-anchor and investigative reporter covering law enforcement, courts and crimes. Notable coverage includes the Ehlert case, the Mark Torre Jr. trial, the Allan Agababa trial, exclusive pieces on the Life of a Drug Dealer/Addict, and Life behind bars...the story of Honofre Chargualaf and Kevin Cruz. In 2019, she was promoted to Assistant News Director and Lead Anchor. From 2015 to 2017 she served as Public Relations and Promotions Manager, for the Hotel Nikko Guam handling local radio and advertorial promotions, as well as produced and directed tv commercials for the hotel. Prior to this she worked with KUAM for three years as a reporter and segment host. She began her journalism career in 2012, working with Glimpses of Guam contributing to the Guam Business Magazine, R&R magazine, MDM magazine and the Marianas Business Journal.