COROZAL DISTRICT, Mon. Jan. 4, 2021– On Monday afternoon, police raided the home of former Lands Commissioner, Wilbert Vallejos, in Patchakan Village, Corozal. They found tens of thousands of dollars in undeclared cash in varying currencies, and subsequently detained the ex-top bureaucrat of the Lands Department.
Last week, Vallejos was also in the news after he announced his resignation as Commissioner of Lands and Surveys. He held the post for almost 10 years and served under three UDP Ministers of Lands: Gaspar Vega, Dr. Carla Barnett and, most recently, Hugo Patt.
According to local media reports, Vallejos’ home was raided on Monday by the police’s Mobile Interdiction Team, who were accompanied by BDF soldiers. They allegedly found $69,800 in cash, Belizean currency; as well as $10,000 pesos and $1,170 US dollars. The Financial Intelligence Unit was then called in to perform an assessment of the cash.
7News reported that a family member of Vallejos suggested that the cash that was found could be the proceeds of cane farming, since Vallejos’ mother is a major cane farmer. She also lives at the residence and was allegedly detained by police at the time of the search. Reports are that police returned to the home to confiscate Vallejos’ personal computer.
Recently, Prime Minister Hon. John Briceño told the public that large plots of land were given away to UDP cronies before the November 2020 elections. Vallejos was at the helm of the Lands Department during that time. We will continue to follow this story as the investigation progresses.