SAN IGNACIO, Cayo District, Mon. Dec. 19, 2016–Police Constable Edif Sierra, the Benque Viejo cop accused of involvement in the trafficking of 8 undocumented Salvadorans, was arraigned on Friday in the San Ignacio Magistrate’s Court, where he was offered bail of $2,000 for allegedly facilitating the commission of an offense under the Immigration Act and a further $500 for traffic offenses.
He was able to meet bail and has been ordered to return to court on January 27, 2017.
Sierra is also facing internal disciplinary sanctions from the Police High Command for “prejudice to good order and discipline,” as well as charges from the Traffic Department for failure to affix a vehicle registration plate and driving an unlicensed motor vehicle.
Superintendent Richard Rosado, Commander of San Ignacio Police, said that the eight Salvadorans found with PC Sierra were also taken to court on Friday for illegal entry into Belize. They pleaded guilty and were all fined $1,000, to be paid immediately. They were able to pay the fine, and an order was issued for their deportation back to Salvador.
Police said that they were conducting an anti-crimes patrol at about 10:00 last Saturday night on the George Price Highway, near the Carrillo Puerto Gas Station in Santa Elena, when a heavily tinted Chrysler Pacifica van without a license plate passed them.
They quickly chased and intercepted the van, inside which they found the Salvadorans, who were all “soaking wet,” as if though they had been swimming in the river, said police. The migrants had no documentation to prove that they were legally in Belize.
Surprisingly, the van was being driven by a man police have identified as Sierra. The driver, the van and its human cargo were taken to the San Ignacio Police Station. Police said that the Salvadorans were searched and a total of US$2,000 was found on them.
Superintendent Rosado, Commander of San Ignacio police, told us that the operation was a collaboration of the Department of Human Services, the Immigration Department, and San Ignacio police.