General — 24 October 2014 — by Kareem Clarke
3 remanded for 2 separate cases of drug trafficking out west

SAN IGNACIO–Three men, two Belizeans and a Guatemalan, were remanded to the Belize Central Prison after they were arraigned in the San Ignacio Magistrate’s Court today for drug-related offences relating to two separate marijuana busts that occurred in Benque Viejo Town over the past three days.

In the first instance, Benque Viejo police reported that while conducting a mobile patrol between Miles 71 and 72 on the George Price Highway on Sunday, October 19, they intercepted a white Mitsubishi cargo truck that was travelling in the direction of San Ignacio Town from Benque Viejo, and that during a search of the vehicle, officers discovered a black plastic bag between the legs of the passenger in the truck.

Police said that both occupants were taken out of the truck and the bag, which contained a green leafy plant substance suspected to be cannabis, was opened.

The occupants and the suspected cannabis, which totaled 14.5 pounds (6.5 kilograms) in weight, were transported to the Benque Viejo Police Station where the driver, Cesar Cho, 20, and Luis Gonzalez, 22, both of Armenia Village, Cayo were both detained and charged with drug trafficking.

The duo was taken to the San Ignacio Magistrate’s Court this morning, where Gonzalez pleaded guilty and was sentenced to three years plus a $10,000 court fine, to be paid by December 30, 2014, in default of which, he would serve 3 more years in prison.

Cho, the driver, pleaded not guilty; however, he was still remanded to prison until December 3, 2014.

In the second incident, Benque Viejo police reported that they were on duty at the Belize-Guatemala Western Border station when their attention was drawn to a Hispanic man who at the time was attempting to cross over from Guatemala into Belize.

Police said that the man appeared suspicious, and that there were bulges in his pants near the ankle area.

As a result, the man was detained and searched, and during the search it was discovered that he had two black plastic bags containing green leafy substances, suspected to be cannabis, taped on to both of his legs.

A further search conducted on him revealed an additional black plastic bag, also containing suspected cannabis, which was strapped with transparent tape to his stomach area.

The courier, later identified as Marvin Estuardo Godoy Linares, 20, a Guatemalan laborer of Barrio la Ceibita, Melchor, Guatemala, was subsequently arrested and charged for the suspected drugs, which amounted to a total of 4.2 pounds (1,904 grams) in weight.

He was arraigned for drug trafficking in the San Ignacio Magistrate’s Court today and was sentenced to three years in prison plus a $10,000 fine, or in default of payment, he will serve three additional years behind bars.

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