Nine Bolivians make emotional return after months in Chilean jails

LA PAZ – The two soldiers and seven officers of Bolivia National Customs – who completed more than three months of unjust imprisonment in Chile for fighting against smuggling – have returned to the Andean-Amazonian nation.

Between tears and sobs, the nine Bolivians received the warm hug of their families and the national and international press that accompanied them to the bus that takes them to the Government Palace, where President Evo Morales awaits them.

On March 19, Chilean police captured the Bolivians in a confusing border incident and said that they were robbing several trucks within 400 meters under Chilean jurisdiction.

Authorities in La Paz asserted that the citizens were working in anti-smuggling operations at the border boundaries.

Last week, judge Isabel Peña read the judgment that establishes the ban on entry to Chile of the seven Customs officials in the next 10 years and the two military in 20 years.

In addition, the judge replaced the judgment to three years imprisonment by the measure of expulsion within the term of 30 days, and fixed a fine.

The day before, Bolivia made a deposit of nearly $50,000 to the Chilean Customs accounts to cancel the fine imposed by the justice of that country to the nine officials and thus ensure their return.