International — 29 October 2013 — by Albert J. Ciego
Drug-sniffing dog busts Guat nationals with cocaine

Two men were busted with 2 1/2 pounds of cocaine in Benque Viejo del Carmen, in the area of the Western border. Guatemalans Jonathon Sandoval and Robin Velez, both 23, were taken to the San Ignacio Magistrate’s Court on Friday, where Sandoval pleaded guilty to drug trafficking, a plea which the court accepted and for which he was given a 3-year jail sentence and a fine of $100,000.

His accomplice, Velez, pleaded not guilty, and the court remanded him to the Belize Central Prison until December 10.

The incident occurred about 4:30 Thursday evening. Policemen of the newly formed unit called the Mobile Interdiction Team said that they were on routine patrol in the Western border area at that time when they saw a car clear the border and head towards Benque. They stopped the car and conducted a search for drugs, ammunition and guns.

As the car stopped, however, one of the dogs specially trained to locate such drugs hit on the car back, causing police to carry out concentrated searches in that portion of the vehicle. It is there that a packet of cocaine was found.

The men, who were present during the search of their car, were immediately arrested and taken to the Benque Viejo Police Station, where they were charged.

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