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Dec 9, 2010

Police officers taken to court for largest cocaine bust

Twice today, downtown Belize City came to a standstill. The immediate area around the courthouse was cordoned off as five officers were whisked into court for arraignment on drug related charges. The media was kept at bay when the five were taken to court in handcuffs and shackles under heavy police escort. The five have been in custody since November thirteenth when they were intercepted near a plane laden with eighty bales of Colombian cocaine. They already face a charge of unlicensed ammunition and firearm levied at by the Punta Gorda police, but the charges today put them closer to the largest Colombian cocaine haul. News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports.

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

lawrence humes

Five men; four of whom are officers attached to the Belize Police Department were today twice escorted to the Magistrate’s Court in Belize City under heavy security detail where they were read an additional charge in connection with the seizure of two point six tons of cocaine last month.

jacinto roches

Local law enforcement authorities had been tipped off about the landing of a twin engine airplane on the Southern Highway near Bladen during the predawn hours of Saturday, November thirteenth.  While the pilot and the plane’s contents were not found in the immediate vicinity a team of five, namely: sergeants Lawrence Humes and Jacinto Roches, corporals Renel Grant and Nelson Middleton as well as Customs boatman Harold Usher, was intercepted at the San Juan bus stop along the Southern Highway.

renel grant

The men were caught traveling inside a white van which contained anti-drug garments, wet suits, car batteries and GPS equipment; all of which were believed to have been used in the landing and unloading of the aircraft.

nelson middleton

The men were then taken into custody and escorted to the Punta Gorda Police Station where they were jointly charged for possession of unlicensed ammunition.  A fifth officer, Vidal Cajun, had also been arrested and charged for possession of an unlicensed firearm in connection with the incident.

harold usher

In the wake of the bust the shipment of cocaine, eighty bales valued at a hundred and forty million Belize dollars, was transported from Punta Gorda to Belize City where it was housed at the Raccoon Street Headquarters before being taken to Tower Hill for destruction.

vidal cajun

In court today the group, with the exception of Cajun, was additionally charged with abetment to import a controlled drug with the purpose of facilitating the importation of two thousand, nine hundred and twenty-one kilograms of cocaine.  Of note is that of the eighty bales a number of individual bricks are being held as evidence inside the porous exhibit room at the police headquarters to be used in the subsequent case against the officers.  The men have since retained legal counsel from attorney Dickie Bradley who was absent from today’s session before Chief Magistrate Margaret McKenzie. Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

The men are to go back to court on February ninth, 2011.  On November twenty-fourth, the Hattieville Prison came under attack twice. It is believed that the shooting is connected to imprisonment of the five.

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16 Responses for “Police officers taken to court for largest cocaine bust”

  1. TINCHO says:

    Heavy security for what? Let them out so the columbians can take care of them,soonet or later they will get to them.

  2. Corruption Watch 2010 says:

    bout time!

  3. rod says:

    i know dickie had to be involved in this case he is the !@#$%^ covering the sesspool of corruption murderous and trecherous people of this gov of belize but am telling yo dickie your day is drawing near enjoy your dirty money you have become the scum of belize i keep telling you karma is a !@#$% and it will envelope you soon. we will see weather this gov is going to do the right thing or they will all get off my bet is they will all get off because they are all working for the higher ups in this same gov. so we will see if this is all a show.

  4. cindy says:

    Lock them up! i bet next year they will walk free. and no one is innocent for they are the law the ones people look up on the ones who have this country so !@#$%^ up! lets go legalize drugs that the only way to stop this !@$$!

  5. Cutty Ligiyaba says:

    The truth is that this is a very hard case to prove and very easy to disprove-They could be

    enjoying a hunting a trip, they could have been doing anything even landing a drug plane but

    they were never seen by anyone or photographed by anyone per say. If one is found a few

    distance or miles away from a crime scene with seemingly fitting attire or articles that does not

    mean that they were involved, circumstantial evidence needs something extra. The DPP should

    have did what she does best and freed those guys. The investigators should have brought

    forward something more concrete, besides they have already violated those guys rights by

    locking them up this long for a bullet, hence the facilitating charge. Prosecution will need more

    evidence or else they have wasted their time.

  6. Oscar965 says:

    If i were family of those detained, i would be scared.

  7. Andrew says:

    I don not agree with Cutty. I believe that circumstantial evidence and common-sense law should be taking into account in Court now. What in the world were these 5 officers doing with all those equipment they were caught with? Is it not obvious enough that they were working? People are not stupid!! Let’s get real!! Our judicial system should turn completely; ‘ Your are guilty, prove yourself innocent’, not the other way around. By this, i believe that many criminals would be behind bars and our crime rate will go down.

  8. PELICAN says:

    I say stretch the case as long as possible. Find all the reasons for adjournments. Let it go into some years. So that when they are let go (because that will happen), they have already spent time. The incompetence and lack of imagination of the DPP wil ensure a “walk free” from jail.

  9. BZNinCALI says:

    Witness intimidation, disappearing evidence & DPP not preparing their cases & failing to notify witnesses when they are supposed to appear in court have all contributed to the failures we have seen. We have one consolation after these five get off, they will never be free to walk the streets again, there is nowhere in Belize for them to hide. Oscar965, you may be right but I hope not because none of us should lose our lives because one of our relatives did not give a damn about his.

  10. Sasha says:

    Cutty must be family to these people that is why he is talking about circumstancial evidence, I agree with andrew. Just because there is no photos is people to witness, doesn’t mean they can’t build a case to still find them guilty.

  11. wil maheia says:

    Respect is due to Yaxche for standing up and speaking out many NGO’s are num these days they are so intimidated by the government. So big up Yaxche and Yvette from APAMO who constantly speaks up.. and also Eddie from PFB.. you all are stars in my book. If FB owner is reading this blog please give these people fighting for the environment all the money you can..lol but for real people these people need some money so lets help them out.

    Environmentalists need to know that 3rd parties can be strong with their help and hopefully next time around they will wise up and support because NGO’s need to know that none of the two parties have their back or interest but we 3rd parties VIP AND PNP are on NGO side.. the other night at the Ocena event against oil they recognized the PUP and the UDP who got us in this mess and they missed a great opportunity to recognize the VIP and the PNP.. who is on their side, stop sucking up to the mass parties!!.. tthey continue to screw us all..ok my two cents for today..

  12. Earl Grey says:

    TRIAL OF THE SOUTHERN HIGHWAY 5 ……………..Starring …………………TRICKY DICKIE ????

  13. ashley says:

    hii cousin just playing i feel bad for them

  14. Yes says:

    People are so quick to judge others went they should spend time judging themselves. No one is guilty until proven. The presumption of innocent is there for a reason people ( not saying these guys are innocent). You might think that justice is not serve the way our society is heading. However, there is a God no one goes unpunished. Instead of us complaining and criticizing the DPP’s office and the judicial system ask yourself if you know how it works?

  15. SEXY says:

    WELL ALL I HAVE TO SAY IS DAT GOD NOH LIKE UGLY . HE D WATCH PAN WAT D HAPPEN SO LET ALL THE CASE COME UP IN THE END WE WILL KNOW WAT THE HAPPEN . SO WHO AM I TO JUDGE . NO ONE . TO THE FAMILY JUST HOPE THEY DONT DIE WHEN THEY COME OUT

  16. info.com says:

    Well i understand that roches was suppose to go to a wedding that day, he was the best man but i leave it gods hands to deal with that situation .

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