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Oct 11, 2017

Cops Interdicted for Cocaine Theft and Extortion Cases

Chester Williams

Five officers have been placed on interdiction after they were slapped with disciplinary charges which stem from two incidents; one in the west involving a large quantity of cocaine and a report of extortion in the south. Corporal Clinton Thomas and Police Constables Kishane Peck and Albert Augustine are in big trouble after an investigation, headed by Assistant Commissioner of Police Chester Williams of the Professional Standards Branch, revealed that during a search of a house in Santa Elena back in April of this year, they along with a fourth officer discovered twenty-seven parcels of cocaine.  The officers, who are members of the Special Patrol Unit, took possession of the drugs and detained the two persons who were found inside the house before making their way to Belmopan. But according to the investigation, the detainees were released and the officers continued on to Belmopan where they concealed the drugs, presumably with the intent to sell it and share the proceeds.  Today, Thomas, Peck and Augustine were placed on disciplinary charges for Neglect of Duty and Act of Prejudice to Good Order and Discipline. At the onset of the investigation, ACP Williams explained that his office had received credible information to charge the officers. 

 

ACP Chester Williams, O.C., Professional Standards Branch [File: September 28th, 2017]

“We have received information that sometime in June of this year, elements of the Special Patrol Unit went on a drug operation in the Santa Elena area of Cayo District and that operation yielded a number of parcels of cocaine which the officers, from investigation, did not turn up at the police station or at the exhibit room and neither did they charge anybody in respect of those drugs.  We have recorded statements from one of the individual officers involved and that statement is telling us certain things confirming that the drugs were indeed located.  As a result of that an internal investigation was launched by my office and we are preparing charges, hopefully by tomorrow.  The officers concerned, three Special Patrol Unit personnel will be charged disciplinarily for act of prejudice to good order and discipline and the reason for disciplinarily is that we don’t have sufficient to go criminally, because the drugs cannot be located.  We have made checks in areas where believe the drugs were concealed, but apparently the drugs have been removed and the person from whom the drugs were taken away is unwilling to or is refusing to cooperate with the investigation.  So to proceed criminally will not give us the result that we want, so we decided to deal with the matter internally.”

 

Reporter

“Sir, does this level of criminality, just blatant criminality, I mean we’re talking about drug trafficking, we’re talking about theft.  Does this concern you?”

 

ACP Chester Williams

“Of course it does concern us as members of the Belize Police Department.  We need to have an organization where the public has trust and confidence in the work that we do and if we will be going out on operations and seize drugs, especially in such quantity and keep it for our own personal benefit then that is of great concern, not only to myself, but the commissioner has also directed that the investigation be carried through and that those officers concerned be dealt with.”

 

As to the case of extortion, Sergeant Sheira Nicholas and Police Constable Richard Dixon Polonio were both arraigned today before a tribunal for the Act to the Prejudice of Good Order and Discipline. It is alleged that the duo extorted three thousand dollars from a Punta Gorda businessman on September first; in exchange, he would not be charged for Human Trafficking and for Soliciting a Bribe. Before the tribunal today, both officers pleaded not guilty. They have since been interdicted from duty pending the outcome of this matter.

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