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Sep 20, 2018

Steep Bail for Drug Plane Trio

There are two major developments on the illegal landing of a drug plane with fourteen million dollars worth of cocaine. The drug, one thousand two hundred and twenty-six pounds of it, packed in bales, was destroyed today in western Belize in an operation mounted by the police.  The other very significant event happened here in the city in the Supreme Court where Superintendent David Chi, Police Constable Norman Anthony and Peter Friesen appeared. The trio was in the courtroom of Justice Francis Cumberbatch seeking to be released on bail on the eve of the Independence Day. All three were successful in securing a one hundred and fifty thousand-dollar bail, which is one of the highest amounts to be imposed under these circumstances. News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports.

 

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

The cost of freedom for a trio of men, including Superintendent David Chi, is an exorbitant sum.  For their purported role in facilitating the illegal landing of an aircraft, the senior law enforcement officer, along with Police Constable Norman Anthony and Peter Friesen were each offered bail of one hundred and fifty thousand dollars.  It is alleged that they all had a hand in guiding a single-engine CESSNA airplane to a remote location in the Orange Walk District, where it touched down at a makeshift landing strip in the Tres Leguas community.

 

Richard ‘Dickie’ Bradley

Richard ‘Dickie’ Bradley, Attorney

“What has happened is that Justice Cumberbatch was mindful of taking into account the circumstances of the persons who were alleged to be involved in the matter of landing a plane, not at an airstrip or airport which is licensed.  I don‘t think that persons involved in the trade will want to go to the international airport or the various licensed aerodromes.  But the point is that first of all, the system works.  The judiciary stood up for the liberty of persons who are alleged to have committed very, very serious offenses.  In the case Superintendent of Police who was in charge of the Orange Walk police formation, he was offered bail in the sum of a hundred and fifty thousand dollars which is a very, very high sum in relation to granting bail to citizens of Belize.  Even foreigners are given less bail but the judge took into consideration that landing a plane, being involved in the matter of seven million US dollars worth of cocaine, which is another word for demons, is one that requires the community to take into account that the judiciary takes a very serious view of the matter.”

 

The interior of the aircraft was gutted and laden with five hundred and fifty-two kilograms of cocaine, before taking off from Venezuela.  The supposed involvement of those officers in that operation is a black-eye on the police department.

 

Chester Williams

Chester Williams, Acting ComPol

“There will always be situations where police officers will be accused of wrongdoing, but it is a matter for us a department when these information manifest themselves that we do the relevant investigation with a view to either exculpate the officer or to gather evidence that will be sufficient to lay charges or disciplinary action against the officers concerned.  As it relates to this recent incident, we have an ongoing investigation that is being led by Assistant Commissioner of Police, Mr. Robert Mariano and Senior Superintendent Sandra Bodden and they have been tasked to probe as much as they can into this allegation with a view to see if indeed other officers are involved and if evidence against them can be obtained.”

 

Norman Anthony

This morning, the three men appeared before Justice Francis Cumberbatch.  With the exception of Norman Anthony, Senior Counsel Dickie Bradley represented both policemen.

 

Richard “Dickie” Bradley

“In the event of the persons involved were to be convicted that at the Supreme Court level which is where this matter will be tried, a judge will take into account the quantum of bail and the circumstances involved.  So there are two very important principles Belizeans need to bear in mind, your liberty is very important no matter what is the allegation against you.  This is not a trial as to whether the accused persons are innocent or guilty or have been set up.  This is just, I‘m going to give you back your freedom but I want certain conditions to be met.  Those conditions are: you find persons who have land title to support the high quantum of bail that was granted.  You are not to interfere with witnesses directly or indirectly, in no form.  You must report to the police station on a regular basis every week.”

 

David Chi

Notwithstanding the arrest and indictment of Chi and Anthony, the Orange Walk District remains the center of activity for the movement of drugs coming into the country.

 

Chester Williams

“Yes, we do have an increase of police presence in the Orange Walk District.  Every week I would sanction operations in those areas with a view to deter criminal activities including the landing of planes.  And I am pleased to announce that we have a new officer commanding Orange Walk in the person of Mr. Juanita Cocom.  You all know him from Ladyville.  He is an outstanding officer and we believe that with him at the helm his level of expertise and the professionalism that he brings to the table that will help us to be able to restore some degree of confidence and public trust in the work of the police in Orange Walk Town.”

 

Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

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2 Responses for “Steep Bail for Drug Plane Trio”

  1. Fungus says:

    This corrupted goverment and legal system is a shame, they had weapons and shot at the cops..no charges for that? That’s why belizeans stop giving a f $^# and do wrong , because this justice, system is not working..everyone start to land ur planes and hire dickey..

  2. Fungus says:

    That no steep atall,, they getting millions of dollars to transport drugs and dickey Bradley knows that a small pinch of the pie is nothing for their bosses. Only in belize u can shoot at the cops and land drugs that’s kill life’s and get out of jail for a small fee..we need new goverment bad..trump on belize.

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