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3 arraigned for illegal logging

General3 arraigned for illegal logging

Photo: (left) Tyriel Banner, David Moralez Sandoval (top right) and Kaylon Anthony Gabourel (bottom right)

BELIZE CITY, Tues. May 7, 2024

Three of five men accused of illegal logging in the Monkey Bay Natural Monument back in January of this year were arraigned today, Tuesday, for four forestry offenses.

Two of the three are Belizean nationals Tyrell Banner, 42, a truck driver of Camalote Village, Cayo District, and his teenaged son, 19-year-old Kaylon Anthony Gabourel, a construction worker of Camalote Village, who were charged jointly along with Guatemalan national, 41-year-old David Morales Sandoval, a resident of the Salvapan area of Belmopan. Two other accused have not yet received their summons to appear in court.

The group of three were arraigned this morning before a Senior Magistrate in Court #2, where they were jointly read charges for four forestry offenses including one count of unlawful cutting of forest produce. Allegations are that the men, on January 26, 2024, in an area east of Monkey Bay National Park, cut down mahogany trees which were converted into 116 pieces of cut lumber equivalent to 1,477.5 board feet, for which a forestry permit had not been granted to them by the Forestry Department. They were charged also with one count of unlawful possession of forest produce; unlawful conversion of mahogany using a chain saw; and unlawful collection of forestry produce.

In court the three accused men pleaded not guilty and were offered bail in the sum of $8,000 plus one or two sureties of $4,000 each.

The cases of the men were adjourned for July 10, 2024.

In court, the Senior Magistrate of Court #2 asked why two other defendants whose names appeared on the court book were not present. That’s when the representative of the Forestry Department informed the court that the fourth defendant had been involved in an accident on the previous day, Monday, May 6, in Belmopan, hence he could not be present at his arraignment; while the fifth defendant is out of the county seeking medical attention.

The Senior Magistrate doing the arraignment today also questioned why it took the department so long to bring the accused persons to court. In response, the representative of the Forestry Department told the court that the reason for the delay in the men’s arraignment was that the department had been seeking legal advice as to how to proceed with the charges.

Today in court the three accused persons were unrepresented.

The three arraigned men are out on bail, which they met.

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