by Charles Gladden
CRIQUE SARCO, Toledo District, Wed. Aug. 3, 2022
While a number of police officers in the Stann Creek District were responding to a mass shooting at a nightclub in Hopkins Village in the wee hours of Sunday morning, reports were received that a suspected narco jet had made landfall in the southern part of Belize in the vicinity of Crique Sarco, Toledo District, and by the time law enforcement personnel arrived at the scene later, only the burnt remains of the aircraft were in the area.
Sometime between 11:30 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. on Sunday, July 31, members of the Belize Defence Force (BDF) and the Belize Police Department were deployed to an off- road about 6 miles away from Crique Sarco village in the Dolores area. When the members of the joint operation arrived at the location, they saw an illegal airstrip measuring about a mile in length and a double-engine airplane that was about 30 feet long on the said airstrip.
When local reporters questioned the Commissioner of Police, Chester Williams on Tuesday, he noted that over the weekend when the landing
occurred, Hopkins Day festivities were taking place in that village, and officers from the Police Department’s quick response team had been out doing patrols in the village and the surrounding area. He went on to say that when the department received reports of the entrance of a suspected drug plane into Belize’s airspace, a number of officers had to be re- deployed to the location of the reported landing.
“When we do have these events, we have Hopkins Day, we had the music fest in San Pedro. Anytime we have major events, you’ ll find that we’ ll deploy our quick response team and our specialized units to assist in policing those events. And so, the quick response team from Dangriga was in charge of policing and patrolling Hopkins, due to the Hopkins Day event. When we had the information of the night plane in our airspace, the police officers, the quick response team that was in Hopkins, had to leave Hopkins to respond to the plane, and that left Hopkins open with no patrol, because they were the ones who were patrolling. The team subsequently, along with the BDF team, conducted searches in the southern part of the country as information was that one of the planes faded in the Dolores area. They went into the area, they conducted searches, and the burnt remains of the plane [were] found,” Commissioner Williams said.
Williams noted that no visible markings could be observed on the airplane, which was reportedly a King Air 200, because only the aircraft’s charred remains were at the site after it had been completely destroyed by fire. According to Police Commissioner Chester Williams, none of the cargo that is believed to have been onboard the plane has been found, nor was anyone found in the area.