On the Trail of Corozal Contrabandista Cops
Three cops remain on interdiction tonight following investigations into their alleged involvement in contraband activity up north; we say alleged because while amateur footage captured the officers in the act, they have only been disciplined, and not criminally charged. Tonight, the fate of Police Constables Jorge Ascurio of the Orange Walk Formation and Elston Rojas of Corozal as well as Police Corporal Abner Marroquin remain in the balance. News Five’s Duane Moody has been following this story.
It is no secret that the movement of uncustomed goods along the Belize border with Mexico is a profitable business. But for a second time in recent days, the police department has suffered a major embarrassment after their own have been caught with contraband goods. On Monday, the Commissioner of Police issued a statement to say officers attached to the Corozal Police Station, were pursued by Customs Officers based at the Northern Border Station. As can be seen in the two amateur videos taken by the custom officers, the alleged contrabandista cops did not stop at the checkpoint and sped away.
The men driving a police mobile pickup labeled 42-03, escaped off a feeder road. But checks made would later lead the customs officers to a black bag containing assorted slippers, socks and underwear. An investigation was immediately ordered by Commissioner Allen Whylie and PC Elston Rojas and Corporal Abner Marroquin were charged with Prejudice to Good Order and Discipline and placed on interdiction. Last week, a first video of cops with contraband goods surfaced. It did not sit too well with the Commissioner Whylie.
“My question is, it something that interest or concerns you that officers were caught on camera using a police patrol vehicle for the smuggling of contraband?”
Allen Whylie, ComPol [File: April 6th, 2017]
“[It] definitely would be a concern to me, because if it’s wrong doing we will deal with those issues. I mean they are well aware that they should not be utilizing the vehicle for those purposes and more so for contrabanding anything, it’s against the law.”
In the immediate aftermath, PC Jorge Ascurio and Special Constable Alfredo Ismael Gongora were identified using a two-door police pickup registered to the Orange Walk Formation to stack up on uncustomed goods. Gongora was suspended from the Special Constable Program, while PC Ascurio was charged and place don interdiction. Duane Moody for News Five.