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Sep 11, 2018

A Major Drug Bust in the North; 26 Bales of Cocaine, a Daring Shootout and 2 Policemen Implicated

The suspension of Chi and Anthony follows a fourteen-million-dollar drug bust on Sunday.  A small aircraft originating from Venezuela was confiscated by police in the Tres Leguas area, Blue Creek where there have been multiple landings of bigger drug planes found abandoned.   It carried an estimated one thousand two hundred and twenty-six pounds of cocaine. After a forty-five minute shootout between law enforcement and the alleged drug traffickers, two Mexicans were nabbed along with Anthony and another Belizean from Blue Creek, who has not yet been charged.  The pilot escaped and no one was injured in the shooting.  The drug bust occurred within days of leaked information that police had found a log book of flight coordinates for drug plane landings up north in an abandoned crash site.  We’ll have full details of the sizeable bust; News Five’s Isani Cayetano has the following report. 

 

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

Belize’s position along the transshipment corridor makes it an ideal location for drugs destined north to be deposited by sea, air or land.  The days of countless wet drops are seemingly a thing of the past, however, there has been marked increase in the number and frequency of illegal landings in the Orange Walk District.

 

Allen Whylie

Allen Whylie, Commissioner of Police

“Since the latter part of last year, as you all are aware, we had seen an increase level of activity in terms of illicit aircrafts trafficking through Belize’s airspace.  We’ve also seen where we [have] in the past recovered a plane and we’ve found at various scenes wreckages that have been burnt.”

 

Tres Leguas, as it is known, is a hotbed for illegal activity and once again it is in the news following a major drug bust over the extended weekend.  That area of the country, particularly in the far-flung reaches near the Mexican border in the northwest, has gained notoriety.  Commissioner of Police Allen Whylie provides details of the latest encounter which includes a drug plane, several armed narco-traffickers, a consignment of suspected cocaine, as well as a lengthy firefight with local law enforcement.

 

Allen Whylie

“On Sunday at about 2:06 p.m. where we received information that an unregistered aircraft departed Venezuela.  As per protocol, the police deployed a, or activated a number of sources to assist us in monitoring activities countrywide.  We continued to mount surveillance on some of the persons we believe would also be involved in these activities and throughout that afternoon we continued to receive a number of updates in terms of this aircraft and the position that it was.”

 

That information proved critical in the department’s ability to track the progress of the aircraft.  They knew it was headed for Belize; nonetheless, its specific destination had yet to be determined.

 

Allen Whylie

“At about seven o’clock, we started receiving from some of our sources that an aircraft was seen, as well as heard in the north, in the area of Santa Martha, Carmelita area.  As a result, as the protocol, we deployed a number of joint police, coast guard, BDF teams countrywide and they proceeded to monitor some of the areas that had been used in the past.  Those monitoring continued.  We continued to receive different updates, as well as different sightings and sometime around nine o’clock one of the joint police/BDF teams were approaching the northern community airstrip in the Blue Creek area and they met a police officer who is attached to the Blue Creek police substation in the vicinity.  He was stopped, he was spoken to and they were not satisfied in terms of what he said to them and so he was subsequently detained.”

 

That officer has since been identified as Police Constable Norman Anthony.  Despite being taken into police custody, he was never at the scene of the landed aircraft, nor was he engaged in the discharge of its contents.  His mere presence in the area, however, raised suspicion of tacit involvement in whatever was taking place at that location.

 

Allen Whylie

“At that time, an aircraft was also heard in the vicinity.  The joint team approached the northern community airstrip and at about 9:16 p.m. they came under fire.  They consequently returned fire.  There was a firefight for, I believe, between half an hour to perhaps forty-five minutes but it was obvious that the joint police/B.D.F. team was superior.  They were able to overcome the firefight resistance and they were able to approach where they saw an airplane which they then secured and secured the area.  Additional police and B.D.F. teams came to also assist.  No members of the security forces were injured during that firefight.”

 

Of note is that during the exchange of gunfire the pilot of the CESSNA single engine aircraft made good his escape.

 

Allen Whylie

“As a result, a white with blue stripe single engine CESSNA aircraft was secured.  It was found to be loaded with suspected cocaine and also a white pickup truck with Mexican license plate was also secured.  That truck had one bail of what we then suspected to be cocaine, so obviously they were in the process of unloading.  This plane, as I said, landed in the northern community airstrip which is located in the Tres Leguas area of the Orange Walk District.  A closer inspection of that aircraft indicated that the tail number is a fictitious one and we are yet to complete in terms of establishing the original tail number for that aircraft.  We checked in the interior of the aircraft and subsequent counting resulted in the discovery of twenty-six bales, plus two parcels of suspected cocaine with a weight of five hundred and fifty-six point two kilograms.  There was also found two empty fuel gallons, a black school bag, a blue lunch bag and a grey bag, a navigation map, a notebook, five liters of engine oil, among other items.”

 

In the aftermath of the gun battle, the team was able to apprehend a pair of Mexican nationals, as well as a Belizean civilian, rounding it off to four arrests in respect of the illegal landing and offloading operation.

 

Chester Williams

Chester Williams, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Operations)

“Yesterday when we brought down the cargo I invited the police personnel to the location where the cargo is kept and they did the sampling of the respective parcels and what we will be doing now, I am in the process of preparing the respective charges for those persons who will be charged.  After that we will be making an application to the court to have the drugs destroyed, hopefully before the end of this week.”

 

There has long been suspicion of collusion or complicity from officers within the Belize Police Department in drug operations.  Unsurprisingly, that notion has been strengthened with the suspension of Superintendent David Chi, whom it is believed may have had a hand in the illegal landing of this aircraft. Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

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2 Responses for “A Major Drug Bust in the North; 26 Bales of Cocaine, a Daring Shootout and 2 Policemen Implicated”

  1. Proud Belizean says:

    Why don’t we take these idiots and give them twenty four hours to leave our country and never come back or we else we will put them in jail for life.

  2. Al says:

    45 Minutes of shootout and nobody got hit. Wow. Were these 45 minutes of warning shots? I think our policemen need to have more exercise on the shooting range. After all, its our tax dollars paying for those bullets.

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