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“Big fish”, guns and drugs caught on offshore island

Headline“Big fish”, guns and drugs caught on offshore island

Photo: Edwin Edward Flowers, remanded

Prominent gang leader and active member of the Leadership Intervention Unit (LIU), Edwin “Drive” Flowers, was found on one of the islands with the illicit items and was charged along with two other members of the PIV gang.

by Charles Gladden

BELIZE CITY, Thurs. Apr. 18, 2024

According to reports, police have been carrying out search operations on several islands where the PIV gang has been reportedly stashing weapons and drugs, before transporting them to Belize City. On Tuesday of this week, during a search coordinated by police on an island situated offshore of Belize City, the officers came upon 12,000 grams of marijuana, which was packaged off in various parcels, along with 2,300 grams of cocaine that was in a two-kilo sized parcel, and a .223 rifle.

At the time of the discovery, they encountered three men from the PIV area of Belize City: 41-year-old Edwin Flowers, 32-year-old Kenyon Domingez, and 25-year-old Gaston Barrow, who were pressed with charges of drug trafficking and keeping an unlicensed firearm.

Flowers, who is known by the street name “Drive”, is a well-known figure in the St. Martin De Porres area who has a criminal past, and according to Commissioner of Police, Chester Williams, he had been working with the Leadership Intervention Unit (LIU) in a purported attempt to change his life.

“The LIU is not a shield for anybody, and so I don’t want [anyone] to believe a particular person [who] is a member or works with LIU, that they are immune from criminal liability or the police going [to] their homes and search. I’ve always said that, once the police get information of the involvement of anybody in crime or anything illegal, the police are going to do what needs to be done regardless of who [they] may be,” remarked Williams to reporters on Wednesday.

“… Drive is an employee of LIU. He’s one of the persons in the program, and we tried our best to work with him, and it goes to [show] what I’ve said: we police [work] with a double-edged sword. We offer the dull side to those persons who demonstrate, who want to change; but once they continue to perpetrate criminal acts, then we have to use the sharp side of the sword and cut them off,” he added.

Notably, more weapons were discovered when police continued their search on two other islands that are believed to be used for storing illicit items by a related gang faction. During that search, the officers found several high-powered rifles and pistols – one M4 Carbine rifle, one assault 5.7 caliber rifle, one .22 rifle, a .40 caliber handgun, and a 9mm handgun. No one was on the island when those weapons were found, so they were labeled as found property.

“We are still doing our checks to see if those firearms are stolen. I don’t think the M4 Carbine is [stolen] unless it was stolen from the military, and neither is the 5.7 rifle. The .40 caliber is not usually licensed, and the 9mm is usually licensed, and we will be doing some checks,” said Commissioner Williams.

He told reporters that the firearms will be sent to the National Forensic Science Service for ballistic testing, and will be run through the E-Trace system to determine if they were used in Central America.

Williams further pointed out, “Mind, though, some of these serial numbers have been removed, and so we will have to see if the forensic will be able to do what they can to lift the serial number.”

“I’m not going to [be naive] and think that this is all the firepower that they have. I believe that they have additional firepower, and that’s the reason why we have gone to other islands [where] we believe they may have some items concealed. We will continue to work and develop our information and go after them again and see what else we can retrieve. We are certain they have more,” said Williams.

The intensive search operations being carried out by police on the islands are part of an effort to curtail the criminal activities of this specific gang faction (PIV) that is believed to be responsible for recent murders in Belize City. Commissioner Williams noted that there had been rumors of an island controlled by the PIV, but nothing was found on that island when a search was carried out there.

“The amount of shooting we have seen where PIV members have been implicated, I had to use a few expletives to be able to let people understand that we need to find these members from PIV and send them to prison under the SOE. We have heard of an island that was being used by PIV, but we have visited that island before and nothing was found. This one where we found this individual is different than what we have heard of, so it’s a different island,” he said.

In last week’s police press briefing, ComPol Williams had mentioned broadening the State of Emergency to the St. Martin De Porres area, and the possibility of extending it for another month.

Today, the trio appeared before a Senior Magistrate in Belize City where they pleaded not guilty to firearm and drug-related offenses. However, they were all denied bail and sent behind bars until July 22.

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