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Dec 31, 1998

Men fleeing check point arrested for drug trafficking

A routine road check by customs officials in Orange Walk ended in a high-speed chase and the arrest of two Belize City men. According to Orange Walk police, around eight Tuesday night, customs officers were conducting checks on the Yo Creek/San Antonio Road when they noticed a brown car coming towards them. The men ordered the driver to stop but instead of slowing down, the car sped off. The customs officers then quickly jumped inside their vehicle and followed in hot pursuit. Then about six miles away, on Lovers Lane, in Orange Walk Town, the police say a sack was thrown out of the fleeing vehicle. When the authorities stopped to investigate, they noticed the bag contained about twenty-four pounds of marijuana. The customs officers, after collecting the evidence, then quickly resumed the highway chase that led them all the way into Corozal. There they came upon the vehicle and its two occupants: Francisco Matute, a fisherman from Conch Shell Bay and Michael Sutherland, a mechanic from Fourth Street in the King’s Park area. On Wednesday both men were taken over to the Orange Walk Magistrate’s Court where they were charged with drug trafficking and possession. The men were offered bail in the amount of eight thousand dollars each plus one surety of the same amount. Matute and Sutherland could not meet bail and have been remanded to Hattieville Prison. They are scheduled to reappear in Magistrate’s Court on January eleventh.

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