12 Guatemalans and 1 Belizean detained
BELIZE CITY, Mon. Nov. 5, 2018– Several media houses had been reporting last week on rumors that a number of Mexicans and Belizeans had been detained near Hattieville by the Belize Special Assignment Group (BSAG) after guns and cocaine were found in a vehicle in which they were travelling. On Friday, November 1, however, Commissioner of Police Allen Whylie clarified the details of a joint operation between the Police Department, the Belize Defence Force (BDF) and the Coast Guard, which led to a bust of 479.15 kilos (1,056 pounds) of suspected cocaine, 5 guns, and the detention of 13 men.
Commissioner Whylie began by saying that on Sunday, October 28, the police had received information which led them to place two Guatemalans under surveillance. Police monitored the whereabouts of these two Guatemalans in Belize City, which included the hotel in which they were staying.
On Wednesday, October 31, at around 6 a.m., the police became aware of a Boston Whaler that was moored at the Princess Marina. They then observed the persons who were under surveillance having a meeting with the occupants of the boat.
ComPol Whylie said that on Thursday, November 1, at around 12:15 p.m., police at a checkpoint on the George Price Highway stopped a Dodge Ram pickup with 6 occupants – 1 Belizean and 5 Guatemalans. Three of the men, all Guatemalans, were in the pan of the truck. The truck was searched and police found two 9mm pistols in the pan of the truck. The men were then detained.
Whylie continued, saying that also on November 1, a joint team of police and members of the BDF observed a Cessna single action plane trying to land in the area of the Coastal Road, about 10 miles from the La Democracia junction with the George Price Highway. The plane did not land, but instead circled the area three times before flying off in a southern direction.
The joint team then proceeded to search the area, and found a silver Toyota Prado, registered to a Belizean whom the police did not name, in the bushes. No occupants were in the vehicle at the time; however, 15 bales of suspected cocaine were found.
The vehicle was escorted to Belize City. Once there, police counted 440 parcels of suspected cocaine. These parcels weighed a total of 479.15 kilos, as mentioned before.
Since there was no one in the area where the drugs were found, the packages were labeled as “found property.” The necessary samples of the substance that was found have already been taken for analysis, and as soon as the results have been received the police will move to destroy the drugs.
Also on Thursday, police spotted the Boston Whaler which had been moored at the Princess Marina departing. The Coast Guard intercepted the boat and its occupants near the Deep Water Port, and heading in a southerly direction. The vessel was escorted back and moored at the Radisson Fort George, where it currently is being held under police guard. 10 people were in the vessel – 5 men, 3 women, and 2 minors. They were all taken into custody; the women and minors, however, were released sometime last night.
The Boston Whaler was searched, but nothing illegal was found. The police do plan to conduct further searches with the use of the department’s canine unit, however.
This investigation is currently still ongoing, and has led to searches around Belize City. As a result of these searches two more Guatemalan men were detained and two more 9mm pistols were found, along with a .40 caliber pistol, which is a prohibited firearm.
As of Friday, 12 Guatemalans and 1 Belizean were detained in connection with the various incidents that were just mentioned.
Today, November 5, however, Deputy Commissioner of Police Chester Williams revealed that some of the men, including the Belizean, have been released, as police could not prove that there was a direct link between them and the drugs that were discovered. The only men who remain detained are those who were charged with firearm offences.
There were a couple fast news media houses which were reporting that 2 kilos, or 4.4 pounds, of cocaine had been stolen over the weekend. These reports mentioned that there was an intensive investigation ongoing, with only certain officers being allowed access to the room at the Queen Street Police Station where the cocaine was being kept.
Deputy ComPol Williams denied this report, however, saying that all of the cocaine is currently in police possession.