Crime — 25 October 2013 — by Albert J. Ciego
GSU infiltrates drug ring: seizes 100 pounds of weed; 2 arrested

Last weekend the Gang Suppression Unit (GSU) infiltrated and busted a drug supply ring in Cayo that had been operating between Arenal and Melchor, Guatemala, and transporting marijuana into Belize. A hundred pounds of marijuana was confiscated, and three smugglers were arrested, but one escaped.

The two smugglers who remained in police custody are Sergio Isaiah Vega, 28, of Arenal, and Gustavo Ruiz, 30, of Benque Viejo, Cayo; police have meanwhile issued an arrest warrant for the escaped smuggler, Anibal Gabino Garcia, 30, also of Arenal.

Vega and Ruiz were jointly charged with possession of a controlled drug with intent to supply, being concerned in the supply of a controlled drug to another, and supplying a controlled drug to another.

Sergio Vega was additionally charged with one count of “being concerned in the making of an offer to supply a controlled drug to another, offering to supply a controlled drug to another, and conspiracy to commit the crime of supplying a controlled drug to another.”

The two men were taken to the San Ignacio Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday in San Ignacio, where they pleaded not guilty to the offenses. They were not granted bail, and were remanded to the Belize Central Prison until February next year. Police indicated that when Garcia is captured, he will be issued similar charges.

According to the GSU, they went undercover in the Cayo area, and set up a sting operation, in which a GSU undercover agent made contact with participants in the smuggling ring and arranged to buy 100 pounds of weed. The deal was set up on Saturday, October 19, and on Sunday, October 20, the three suppliers confirmed the purchase, and arrangements were made to bring the drug to the undercover agent.

Information released by the GSU indicates that members of the unit went into position on Sunday, in the Spanish Lookout area on the Buena Vista Road, and shortly after, they saw three men drive up in a red taxi. The car pulled into a picado off the Buena Vista road, and all three men got out the car and picked up two large parcels wrapped in black garbage bags from inside the bushes.

The GSU then broke cover and rushed into the area, but two of the smugglers managed to jump into the car and speed away, while the third man, Ruiz, was immediately captured.

The GSU team then proceeded to pursue the vehicle, and a high speed chase ensued. Another group of GSU officers intercepted the car, causing it to stop, at which point Garcia jumped out of the car and ran into the bushes and escaped. The policemen pursued him, but were not able to capture him.

Vega was captured in the car. The two men, as well as the two bags of marijuana, were then taken into custody. The two sacks of weed were each opened in the presence of Vega and Ruiz, and the contents of the bags were shown to be marijuana. The bags were weighed and together totaled 99 ¼ pounds – with one sack of cannabis weighing 50 ¼ pounds, and the other sack weighing 49 pounds.

Police said that the three men are a part of an organized drug supply ring trafficking marijuana from Guatemala to Belize.

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