BELIZE CITY, Tues. Mar. 23, 2021– A joint operation called “Alto Impacto”, which was led by the Honduran INTERPOL Unit, resulted in the detention of six Belizeans and two Hondurans who are believed to have been involved in the theft of six boat engines, that were allegedly to be used for drug trafficking. The arrest took place in Puerto Cortes, Honduras.
The detained men reportedly have extended criminal records and are facing immigration charges for illegally entering Honduras. Reports indicate that the arresting unit is currently coordinating their expulsion from Honduras.
One minor, 17-years old, was arrested with the men. The other detained men are 25-year-old Jaime Nolberto Coote; 28-year-old Vincent Esron Martinez; 19-year-old Fernando Avila; 20-year-old, Justin Floyd Palacio, and 40-year-old Jeremy Waylon Leslie. All of the men are said to be from southern Belize, and are all reportedly well-known by local police.
According to Commander Gregory Soberanis of the Belize Coast Guard, the men who have been detained are some of the key players who were involved in a string of robberies that took place at sea in recent months. He said that the Coast Guard has been engaged in an ongoing investigation to get these men off the Belizean waters and have been working closely with their Honduran counterparts to get this achieved.
The band of pirates reportedly operates between Belize and Honduras, where they target fishermen and other seafarers, whom they rob of their sea products and boat engines. According to Commander Soberanis, one of the Honduran nationals who was detained and arrested during Alto Impacto is connected directly to the Honduran organized crime cartel.
The detained pirates are expected to arrive in Belize, where they will face charges for several criminal offenses.