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Jul 31, 2017

Gold Panners Hit with Slew of Charges

Two Guatemalan nationals are in custody following their arrest over the weekend. Forty-year-old Thomas Gomez and thirty-seven-year-old Domingo Pana from Naranjon, Dolores Peten were detained on Saturday morning in the Ceibo Chico region of the Chiquibul National Park. A team of five park rangers from Friends of Conservation and Development spotted the Guatemalans sleeping under a make-shift camp located some six kilometers inside the Chiquibul National Park. The rangers also found ammunition and a bag with marijuana along with an assortment of tools for gold panning. FCD reports that Domingo Pana had been previously captured in the Ceibo Chico area four years ago while gold panning. FCD also notes that transferring the men to the Millonario Camp from the Ceibo Chico involved a ten-hour hike and another two-hours and a half to the San Ignacio Police Station. Police have charged Pana and Gomez with Kept Ammunition without a License while Pana will additionally be charged for possession of a controlled drug. But that is not the end, because both men will be charged with illegal entry. FCD’s Rafael Manzanero explains.


Rafael Manzanero

Rafael Manzanero, Executive Director, FCD

“The two that were detained just over the weekend on Saturday, the patrol went in at three o’clock in the morning. By the time they reached to the site, they already dropped on the camp by seven o’clock and that’s when these guys were still asleep. So they had been basically operating the night or getting really to depart from the zone, so they were resting. So it is changing the tactics. Over the last couple of weeks, we were basically were bringing Guatemalans every two days by fours or by three or so. But Guatemalans still don’t stop; they still continue. My feeling is that unless we change and unless we are much more abrupt and effective in our works down there to be able to contain it, the Guatemalans will not stop until the gold is finish in that zone. We are hopeful that today which is Monday, that they will be arraigned and the Forest Department and Immigration are laying charges on them; Immigration because of illegal entry and forestry because of the gold panning activity. So they would lay charges and base on that we will see what really happens.”

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