Headline — 05 December 2018 — by Courtney Menzies
Drug plane headed for Belize lands in Chetumal

EL PROGRESSO ROAD, Corozal District, Mon. Dec. 3, 2018– A drug plane, carrying over a ton and a half of cocaine, landed at the Chetumal International Airport on Friday morning. Reports are that the plane’s destination was Belize, but the pilot was alerted that our police were on his tail, so he diverted his plane and cargo to Chetumal, where he landed.

It was around 1:30 a.m. when Corozal and Orange Walk police got word of a low-flying aircraft, which was to land near the San Estevan/El Progresso Road. When they arrived on the scene, they saw a mile-long stretch of fluorescent lights set up on either side of the road. They also saw revolving lights on the road.

The presence of the police reportedly spooked the pilot of the plane, which was a Hawker Beechcraft jet, and he headed to the Chetumal Airport. After the plane landed at 3:40 a.m., without authorization, the pilot and another man allegedly ran out the aircraft with a bag at the west end of the runway, and ran into a clearing located among the vegetation of the airport. The men then jumped over the perimeter fence on the north side, and disappeared on the streets of Milenio Y Jardines, residential areas bordering the Chetumal International Airport.

The abandoned plane, which had a fake registration number, was found by Mexican authorities at around 4:15 a.m. The plane and its cargo have since been secured by Mexican authorities.

At around 3:40 a.m., Belize police at the area where the plane was expected to land, got information that there were some trucks in the area. They went to look for these trucks, and found 2 persons riding on a motorcycle as well as 2 pickup trucks with occupants in the back. The police followed them on the Pueblo Viejo Ferry Road and eventually caught up with one of the trucks as it was attempting to cross the ferry. The men in the truck opened fire on the police. Fortunately, none of the officers were injured.

The men reportedly forced the ferry worker to take them across, after which they sped off, one of them crashing into a tree. Reports are that after they crashed, a truck came and picked up the men who were stranded and drove off. The police have since impounded the vehicle, which has Belizean license plates.

Another part of this story involves Armando Pott, 26, a vegetable vendor from Chunox Village. On Sunday, December 1, at around 4 p.m., he reported to police that the day before, on November 30, around 1 a.m., he was travelling to go sell vegetables in Belize City when he was stopped by 4 armed men in a Dodge pickup in the same area that the plane was allegedly supposed to land.

The men in the pickup tied up Pott and another man whom he was travelling with, and left them on the road. After about 30 minutes, Pott was able to untie himself and that is when he saw the lights on either side of the road.

Police would not say if these incidents – the low-flying aircraft, the plane that landed at the Chetumal airport, the trucks on the Pueblo Viejo Ferry Road, and the tying up of Pott – are indeed related. Police have said, however, that 3 persons are currently in custody, but would not say if they are known for involvement in late-night plane landings on the highways.

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