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Jul 31, 2008

Police finally catch up with notorious criminal

Story PictureHe had been on the run evading the long arms of the law for some time and has had the dubious reputation as one of Belize’s most notorious criminals. Most recently he was wanted for the March fourteenth murder of restaurant owner Samuel Ortiz and the Valentine’s Day murder of Shannon “Shaggy” Henderson, both in Placencia Village. Police also wanted him for a string of criminal offences over the past months.

And when police finally caught up with him, this hardened criminal was in the company of a fifteen year old and heavily armed. Police report that in a shootout, thirty year old Gregory Casildo’s life ended violently, the same way he lived it. Assistant Commissioner of Police, Crispin Jeffries said the incident occurred around two o’clock this morning during an anti-drug operation in the Yalbac area not far from Spanish Lookout in the Cayo District.

Crispin Jeffries, Assistant Commissioner of Police
“Whilst in that area the police came across a car that was stationery on a road, one of the side roads leading between Yalbac and Spanish Lookout and they observed inside that car, two male persons. The team approached the car and later on one of the occupants was spoken to and at the same time the second attempted to alight the vehicle. That second occupant was recognised as Gregory Casildo who appeared out of the vehicle with a handgun and fired shots at the police. The police returned fire and Gregory Casildo was fatally injured. He later died or was presumed dead. Subsequent to that part of the incident, the police from San Ignacio with the Scenes of Crime people were called in and whilst on their way, the police also found a Hispanic male person in the immediate are of that incident. It was later confirmed that that Hispanic male person was in fact connected to the two male persons in the car. He was found in possession of a firearm also.”

Officers from the Scenes of Crimes Unit from San Ignacio discovered several expended shells along with a point twenty-two homemade handgun from the scene. Inside the Pontiac Grand Am car in which Casildo and a fifteen year old minor were travelling, police found another amount of ammunition, and some expended shells. Near Casildo’s body was a small amount of nine millimeter ammunition and a handgun, while on his person he had a ski mask and an expended shell.

Casildo was a man feared by many people for his deadly ways. After the Placencia murders, reports of Casildo sightings were made in the Cayo and Toledo Districts but it seemed that of late he had disappeared from the radar. A.C.P. Jeffries says he feels Casildo’s apprehension was the result of good community assistance.

Crispin Jeffries
“During the last two moths much has been heard of Gregory Casildo in the Cayo District, particularly in the Spanish Lookout, Santa Elena and Esperanza village are of that district. Numerous efforts have been made to find and capture this person and we thank the communities of the Spanish Lookout and other areas. It is good intelligence work and good community support that has resulted in this break through in this long ongoing manhunt for this person who we believe has eluded the police for so long. Simultaneous to this, the Commissioner of Police has required, directed the Internal Affairs Unit to conduct a parallel investigation as we are aware that people will make complaints of police wrongdoing. That is also ongoing. The family of Gregory Casildo was informed by the police of this encounter by Inspector Thompson this morning.”

“We have heard numerous complaints or allegations of him planning robberies and raids. We are looking at a specific item that we found, a cell phone that we believe belongs to Mr. Martin Wall that we found in the vehicle where Gregory Casildo was this morning. Martin Wall was a Mennonite who was attacked in his home earlier this month and injured. And he was robbed. Unlike the information that we had erroneously released, the finger of Mr. Wall was not amputated but he had a very serious cut on one of the fingers.”

Jeffries said the initial investigations reveal Casildo was shot four times. Casildo was released from Hattieville Prison two years ago after serving time for a string of criminal offences. Jeffries said that Police had hoped that Casildo would come forward when his father passed away recently but he never did. Forty-two year old Adan Roberto Jimenez, who may be either a Salvadoran or Guatemalan, was apprehended when police returned to the scene. Jimenez was also wanted for questioning in connection with several other incidents in the Cayo District. Casildo and Jimenez are believed to have been partners in crime.

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