6 illegal immigrants caught in sting operation by Immigration Department
A total of six illegal immigrants, who were rounded up as a part of a sting operation by the Immigration Department, appeared in the Belize City Magistrate’s Court today to answer to different charges. They are forty-five year old Jose Orlando Florez, a Honduran mason who has been living in Santa Cruz Village in Mango Creek; Nigerian national, forty-eight-year-old Michael Igbodokwu, a barber and businessman of Buttonwood Bay; thirty-two-year-old Moris Yovany Rodriguez Godinez, a Honduran national who is a farmer of St. Jude Street in Belize City; Noe Antonio Alvarado, a Salvadoran national; twenty-eight-year-old Jose Erazo Lopez, also a Salvadoran national, along with thirty-two-year-old Cristian Amaya Donaire, a Honduran national. Donaire, Lopez and Alvarado were all charged jointly for illegal entry into the country. Lopez and Alvarado were caught on Tuesday at the Novelo’s Bus Terminal. Donaire, on the other hand, was busted by police around midday today at the Mile Three checkpoint and handed over to the Immigration Department. Florez, was charged with failure to comply with a visitor’s permit, while Godinez, was deemed a prohibited immigrant after he failed to produce any document to Immigration Authorities to show his status. Michael Igbodokwu was also charged with failure to comply with his visitor’s permit.
In court, the first to be arraigned was Florez, who pleaded not guilty to his offense of failure to comply with his visitor’s permit. He first entered Belize on September second, 2008, and was given several extensions to stay, the last extension expired on November twenty-first, 2013, but he failed to get another extension. He asked for time to get fixed up as he loves Belize and would like to work to send money home for his family. But prosecutor Albert Munnings objected to bail being offered to Florez, as he is deemed a flight risk. Magistrate Dale Cayetano, who heard the matter, agreed and remanded him into custody at the Belize Central Prison until March eighteenth, for trial. Godinez, who is charged with the offense of prohibited immigrant could not produce any documents and also pleaded not guilty to the offense. He was also denied bail and was remanded to the Belize Central prison until March eighteenth. All the others pleaded guilty and were fined a thousand dollars each, of which they were ordered to pay immediately or in default six months in prison.