Police caught him with a stolen gun
A Belize City man whom the police’s Gang Suppression Unit (GSU) charged with possession of an unlicensed firearm and ammunition and one count of handling stolen goods was found guilty of the charges this morning, when his trial before Chief Magistrate Ann Marie Smith concluded.
Chief Magistrate Smith, before imposing the two 5-year sentences for the firearm and ammunition possession charges, told Jason Joseph Williams, 34, a resident of Belmopan and clothing seller: “Your defense is a Disney Channel fabrication.”
Smith stipulated that the sentences are to run concurrently. Williams, who has a charge of theft pending before the court, was sentenced to an additional six months for the handling stolen goods charge.
On December 24, 2012, around 4:30 p.m., Williams was spotted by a GSU patrol driving a gold car in the vicinity of Newtown Barracks.
In his sworn testimony, Williams told the court that he had his daughter seated on his lap when he saw the red police pickup pulling up beside him, and the police signaled to him to stop.
Traveling inside the police vehicle were female Sergeant Erma Anderson and one Corporal Pasqual.
Anderson testified that she and Pasqual were on operations around the Newtown Barracks area when she saw the car in which a baby was seated in the driver’s lap.
The car stopped and the two GSU officers asked the driver for his driver’s license, and Anderson informed him that driving with the baby in his lap was a traffic offense.
Anderson told the court that they informed Williams that a search was going to be conducted on his person.
“I asked him to remove the child from his lap, but he seemed hesitant. He did not do it. I asked him a second time before he complied,” Anderson testified.
During the search, Anderson said she felt something hard in Williams’ crutch area, and asked Pasqual to continue the search.
Pasqual told the court that his search uncovered a black and chrome .9mm Lugar pistol that was wedged in the front of Williams’ pants. The gun was loaded with thirteen rounds, he said.
Pasqual said that after taking Williams to the Queen Street Police Station, he put the gun in a “gun box” and sent it to the Forensic Laboratory.
The lab report confirmed that the gun was stolen from its owner, Walter Quinones, an Orange Walk resident who had reported to police that his licensed .9mm pistol was stolen from out of the glove compartment of his vehicle.
In court, Quinones identified the gun as his property which was stolen from his vehicle. He was able to identify his gun by the serial number, which had not been removed.
In his defense, Williams told the court that he is the father of a 3-year-old daughter and the only reason that he is in this predicament is because the GSU officers, upon observing his driver’s license, noticed his George Street address.
“And that street is always in the media for crimes and violence,” Williams told the court.
Williams, who is a deportee from the United States, attempted to convince the court that the gun was planted on him by the GSU officers.
But in her summary of the evidence, Chief Magistrate Smith told him that the prosecutor had proven all the elements of the offense.
“The prosecutor brought Mr. Vega, the firearms examiner, who confirmed that the firearm is in good working condition,” the Chief Magistrate said, “and you never, in one part of your cross-examination, put it to Corporal Pasqual that he planted the gun on you. You didn’t put it to Corporal Anderson.”
The Chief Magistrate then imposed the sentences.