BELIZE CITY, Mon. Jan. 30, 2017–Was there a violent clash between Belizean Customs officers and Mexican smugglers that left 13 persons injured?
An article published by a Mexican news agency, the Yucatan Times, claims that there was.
According to the article, the incident occurred at the Subteniente López border crossing on Friday after the customs officials refused to allow a group of about 20 people to cross the border because they failed to pay taxes on the merchandise purchased at the Corozal Free Zone.
The article further claimed, “The situation worsened when one of the Belize agents, who had crossed into Mexican territory, pulled his gun and began threatening the alleged smugglers.”
Thirteen Mexican smugglers were injured as a result, the article claimed.
However, our sources inside the Customs Department denied that that incident occurred and claimed that that news was simply a publicity stunt engineered by the contrabandistas and their sympathizers.
One customs officer told us that his department had received calls that 24 Mexican contrabandistas from the Los Pelones gang in Chiapas had been compiling bundles of merchandise on the bridge.
However, they never went on the bridge to confront them.
“If we go there, we will lose. They are prepared for violence and we are not,” one officer told us.
According to him, when his colleagues had approached the same contrabandistas on Thursday, things almost took a turn for the worse when they injured a Belizean police officer by striking him in the head with a bottle.
Shockingly, that officer revealed to our newspaper that since Friday, the contrabandistas have seized control of the old bridge between Belize and Mexico and are assaulting and extorting Belizean nationals who have tried to access it.
The bridge, we are told, is the property of the Mexican Federal Government.
We tried to seek the Comptroller of Customs for comment, but our efforts were unsuccessful.