BACALAR CHICO MARINE RESERVE, Ambergris Caye, Belize District, Fri. May 15, 2020–Three Mexicans who came to Belize illegally were busted fishing in the Bacalar Chico Nature Park and Marine Reserve in Northern Ambergris Caye, Belize District, yesterday, Thursday, by the Belize Coast Guard, who were conducting a routine patrol in the reserve yesterday.
The Mexicans were identified as Gabriel Vargas de la Cruz, Noel Gonzalez Alamilla and Arturo Pedro Cordero.
Coast Guard officers said that when the men saw them coming, they threw away the marine products that they had caught and tried to speed away, but the Coast Guard pursued and caught them.
The three men were arrested and taken to Corozal Town, and on that same Thursday, they were handed over to police, who took them into mandatory quarantine for 14 days, during which they would have been tested for the COVID-19 virus. Somehow, however, on that same night, as morning approached, the three Mexicans escaped from the quarantine center where they were being held.
Reports have surfaced that the men are back in their country. Police have begun an investigation into the escape of the fishermen.
Police said that after the mandatory quarantine, if the fishermen had tested negative for the COVID-19 virus, they would have been charged for illegal entry into Belize, conducting fishing activities without a license and violation of COVID-19 Safety Regulations and they would have been fined $5,000 or sentenced to three months in prison, after which they would have been deported.
Their boat and fishing equipment have been confiscated and handed over to the Fisheries Unit.
Feature photo: (l-r) Gabriel Vargas de la Cruz, Noel Gonzalez Alamilla and Arturo Pedro Cordero