ORANGE WALK TOWN, Thurs. Apr. 4, 2019– Eleven Cubans and eight Nicaraguans were taken into custody in Orange Walk because they were not able to present police with official permits or documents to show that they were legally in the country. Three Belizeans, the drivers of three vehicles with Belizean license plates, are also presently in custody and are being investigated by the Immigration Department and police. So far, no one has been arrested.
Police said that the Cubans were found first, hiding in a cane field near the Chan Pine Ridge Road in Tower Hill, Orange Walk District, at about 2:30 Monday afternoon. The lawmen used a drone to scan the large cane fields from the sky, and this showed them exactly where to go and apprehend the foreigners.
Police said that the group included 3 women and 7 men. They also found a Jeep Cherokee and its driver, Belizean Alfredo Osorio, 41, of Santa Cruz, Cayo District, and a Nissan Pathfinder and its driver, Bernel Osorio, 29, also of Santa Cruz, Cayo District. At about 4:30 that same evening another Cuban was found, bringing the count to 11 Cubans.
The Cubans told police that they were heading north to the United States and had entered Belize through an area near the Cayo border.
The 11 Cubans are Zenia Caridad Garcia Rodriguez, 21; Meylin Vidal Montero, 29; Yanisleidys Sardinas Dominguez, 29; Ocleidi Paz Blanco, 39; Alexander Gutierrez, 45; Juan Carlos Diaz, 32; Iaz Crespo, 32; Dayan Gutierrez Rodriguez, 21; Ricardo Garcia Ferrer, 32; Elieser Gonzalez Ramirez, 42; and Yulier Gutierrez Perez, 40.
On Monday afternoon, people in the area told police that they saw some suspicious-looking persons, who appeared to be foreigners, being transferred from one vehicle to another, near some bushes on the Chan Pine Ridge Road. Police were called and that was when they scanned the area.
Later that same Monday evening, at about 6:30 p.m., police said that they were conducting patrols in Orange Walk Town, when they saw a van loaded with people at the 24 Hours Gas Station. They conducted a random search on the van, for illegal items, and found that the group, eight Central Americans, comprising Nicaraguans and Salvadorans and Guatemalans, were in Belize illegally. Police said that when the foreigners were asked for their permits authorizing them to be in the country, they were not able to present them.
The driver of the van was Nelson Orlando Caseres, 33, who is a fruit vendor of Carmelita, Orange Walk District.
Police said that the persons found in the van were Jose Alexander Rivas Arevalo, 32, of El Rosario, La Paz, Salvador; Reyner Oswaldo Ponce Castellanos, 30, of Nueva Segura Ocotcel, Nicaragua; Ingris Jokata Sandoval Valdez , 21, of Nueva Segura Ocotcel, Nicaragua; Lian Jokasta Ponce Sandoval, a 1-year-old toddler, of Nueva Segura Ocotcel Nicaragua; Denilson De Jesus Ventura Guzman, 19, a farmer of Ipala Chiquimula, Guatemala; Karen Yanin Tercero Ojeda., 22, of Bario Solotran, Nicaragua; Helder Janisse Espinoza Castellanos, 25, of San Juan, Limey, Nicaragua; and Angeli Cecilia Urbina Espinoza, a 7-year-old child, also of Nicaragua.
A human trafficking investigation was launched and the drivers of the vans were detained by police, pending the outcome of the investigation.
ACP Joseph Myvette said today that they are all presently in the custody of the Immigration Department.