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COMPOL on drug plane

GeneralCOMPOL on drug plane

Commissioner of Police, Chester Williams while sharing with reporters additional details on Sunday’s drug plane landing, said that the plane’s illicit cargo could have been taken to Guatemala.

By: Charles Gladden

BELIZE CITY, Thurs. June 30, 2022

Over the weekend, there were reports of a suspected drug plane that made landfall in the early hours of Sunday morning in a remote area in the southern part of Belize near Sunday Wood village, Toledo, which is situated about 3.4 kilometers from Conejo village near the Sarstoon Temash National Park.

On Wednesday, June 29, after initially hesitating to make extensive public comments on the landing due to concerns about the security of troops in the area, Commissioner of Police, Chester Williams, gave local reporters an update on the recent drug plane landing that occurred between the late hours of Saturday night and early Sunday morning, and he further indicated that the cargo of the plane, which was most likely cocaine, was probably taken over the border to Guatemala.

The COMPOL told local reporters that, after local law enforcement received information about a plane from South America that was likely heading into local airspace, members of the Police Department and Belize Defence Force (BDF) were deployed  to several locations. And around 2:00 a.m., (Sunday morning), Mexican authorities informed Belize police that the plane had made landfall near Sunday Wood village.

Because of the rugged terrain surrounding the location of the landing, however, the journey of local law enforcement officers to the landing site was a difficult and slow one, with some officers having to traverse certain areas on foot while being directed by the Belize Defence Force Air Wing, who did a flyover and located the burnt remains of the plane, a Beechcraft King Air 90 aircraft, and led the troops to the area—which was a strip of land that had been cleared in the forest near Sunday Wood—by around 2:00 p.m. that Sunday afternoon.

COMPOL Williams told the local media that they believe that the drugs were taken over to Guatemala due to the proximity of the landing site to the Guatemalan border.

“We certainly suspect that the cargo onboard the plane [were] drugs, and we have launched a number of operations in the area with a view to see if we can locate the findings. But again, the area is more close to the Guatemalan border than Belize.  So we believe that the product may have been taken into Guatemala, as opposed to Belize, as the area where the plane landed is near the Temash River. If you come out of that, it takes you to the area of Barranco and from there you go through the sea and you’re right into Guatemala. So we believe that the drugs may have taken that route,” ComPol Williams said.

When the deployed troops arrived at the area, there were bicycles along with several other items found at the site, and police believe that the persons who facilitated the landing and unloaded the plane probably used bicycles to get to the site.

“We do believe that the bicycles [were] the mode of transportation used by those who were engaged in the landing of the plane.Again, vehicles could not reach the location because of the rugged terrain, but bicycles can maneuver the small picados and could have gotten to the location, and so we believe that those involved used bicycles to get to the location… We do maintain our presence in the area conducting searches, but at this time we have not been able to come up with anything,” Williams explained.

A local reporter asked Commissioner Williams whether persons living in the nearby villages could possibly have been involved with the drug plane landing and he replied, “It can be assumed”.

“That is an aspiration any reasonable person can come up with, and it is quite logical, but to say definitively that they were involved, we cannot say that. But certainly, [as] you rightfully said, it can be assumed,” he remarked.

The last drug plane landing in Belize occurred in March of this year.

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