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28 bales of cocaine burnt

BELIZE DISTRICT, Fri. Feb. 5, 2021– Just one week after the Belize Police Department’s seizure of a little over 2,000 pounds of cocaine following a narco plane landing, the drugs have been burnt in compliance with an order issued by the court. The Police Department’s Commander of Operations ACP Marco Vidal oversaw the destruction of all 28 bales of cocaine retrieved by police during the recent bust.

Local media was invited to view the destruction of the narcotics. “We have the 26 bales of cocaine that were the found property, and then we have the 2 that were found in the boat. I say 26 because it includes the 23 plus the 3 that were found afterward. And that totaled just under 1 ton — 947 thereabouts,” ACP Vidal shared.

Also present to witness the destruction of the drugs were the sitting Senior Magistrate, a chemist, a Justice of the Peace, and a senior officer. Vidal shared that the department decided to move to carry out speedy destruction of the drugs, given the security risk. As soon as the court order was given, the police’s caravan headed to an undisclosed location, where they proceeded to carry out the burning of the drugs.

The destruction of the cocaine was concluded at 1:00 p.m.

Vidal said that the destruction of the drugs will have no negative impact on the case compiled against the accused. “Whenever the drugs are found, you have Scenes of Crime who go on the scene, and they gather the evidence. In addition to that, the drugs are photographed and everything. And that is taken before the court. You guys are here to witness that it is the drugs that are being destroyed. The evidence that the Scenes of Crime took is what is taken before the court to convict these people,” ACP Vidal explained.

When asked about his reaction to the charges brought against three law enforcement personnel in connection to the huge drug bust, he said, “We have genuine police officers and we have those that are engaging in these kinds of activities. So, for the police to go after these persons is applauding because we need to go after these persons. There are others; they just need to be exposed and then captured.”

At around 3:30 a.m. on January 29, police tracked and intercepted a drug plane with thousands of pounds of cocaine on board. By the time the plane had gotten into Belizean airspace, the operation was already compromised, and the aircraft went down between the villages of Lemonal and Crooked Tree. Two boats were then seen speeding from the area using the nearby lagoon.

The first boat, believed to have been occupied by the Mexican support team and possibly the pilot of the plane, was never captured. Those persons and whatever cargo that they had in their possession are likely well outside Belizean territory. The second boat, containing nine Belizean men, including 2 police officers and a BDF soldier, confirmed to be the driver for the Brigadier General, were found along with 2 bales of cocaine, amounting to about 150 pounds in weight.

These nine persons have since been arrested, charged, and subsequently arraigned inside the Orange Walk Magistrate’s Court. They have all pleaded not guilty and have recently been granted bail in the Supreme Court. They are all charged with possession of a controlled drug with the intent to supply and are represented by Attorney Richard “Dickie” Bradley.

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