PUNTA GORDA TOWN, Thurs. Apr. 23, 2015–Since being released from prison in early 2013 after spending 21 years behind bars, Frank Castro, 38, had been leading a virtually low-key life in his native hometown known as Indianville, situated just outside Punta Gorda Town.
That life, however, was abruptly cut short last night when Castro – who is certainly no stranger to police – was ambushed and murdered by a gunman while returning home after going to the store on an errand.
The incident reportedly happened sometime after 7:00 p.m. yesterday, Wednesday, when Castro went to buy a case of soft drinks from a store in the Indianville area.
Police said that while riding his bicycle on Corozal Street heading back to his residence, Castro was surprised by an assailant, who immediately opened fire on him.
Two bullets found their mark in the upper left part of his chest and left shoulder, and as a result, Castro died on the spot.
His body was transported to the Punta Gorda Town Hospital, where it awaits a post-mortem.
Three expended shells were recovered from the scene, and Punta Gorda police have indicated that so far, they have not established a motive for Castro’s execution.
According to police, several suspects have been detained for questioning in connection with the murder, but so far, no charges have been brought against any of them.
Before settling down in Punta Gorda two years ago, Castro was known as a career criminal who had served jail time for committing a slew of offences, including robbery and kidnapping, among others.
Castro had been imprisoned since 1992, when he was given a 19-year sentence for several crimes, including burglary and attempted robbery.
In early December of 1997, Castro and two other fugitives – Marcel Gabourel and the infamous Julian Bush – escaped from the Belize Central Prison.
Later that same month, the trio was suspected of involvement in the attempted armed robbery of Tang Supermarket on 3rd Street in Belize City and the attempted murder of its proprietor, Boa Tang.
Bush was fatally wounded at the scene after being shot three times by the shopkeeper, who unexpectedly opened fire on the robbers during that incident.
It is alleged that after the fiasco at Tang’s, Gabourel and Castro kidnapped taxi driver Peter Novelo from the Belcan Taxi Stand in Belize City.
Three days later, Novelo’s body was found in the trunk of his car – which had been set on fire – on Chan Pine Ridge Road in the Orange Walk District.
It is believed Gabourel jumped the border and absconded to Honduras early in 1998 after he accidentally shot Castro, who was his accomplice during a robbery at the time in Punta Gorda.
Gabourel was caught by Honduran authorities and deported to Belize in April of 1999, on charges of attempted murder, aggravated assault, aggravated burglary, conspiracy to commit murder, and use of deadly means of harm.
Upon his apprehension, Castro was slapped with charges including attempted murder, attempted robbery, use of deadly means of harm, and the possession of an unlicensed firearm and ammunition for the attempted robbery of the Chinese grocery store.
For the death of Novelo, Castro was additionally charged with murder, kidnapping, robbery, damage to property, and conspiracy to murder.
However, Castro’s crime streak did not stop there.
In May of 2000, Castro – then 23 years old – escaped the confines of the Belize Central Prison for the 9th time by cutting the security bars on an upstairs window in his cellblock and then jumping over the fence of the correctional facility along with three other inmates.
Four days later, however, he was captured by members of the Police Dragon Unit near the Conch Shell Bay area in Belize City.
The last time Castro made the news was in early March of 2013 when a then-repentant Castro, who was serving life for murder and had been in jail for most of his life, said that he just wanted to shake Muslim leader Minister Louis Farrakhan’s hand after the well-known motivational speaker addressed inmates at the Belize Central Prison during a five-day tour of Belize.
We called the Kolbe Foundation today to query the circumstances under which Castro was released from prison in 2013, but we were told that the administrator who would be able to provide us with that information was not in office at the time.