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Dec 9, 2002

Police vehicle seized in Guatemala; it’s hot

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Tonight, believe it or not, there is a new chapter in the continuing saga of those ten late model vehicles confiscated from John Zabaneh’s Mayan King farm last November. Earlier this year, most of the fancy rides were quietly handed over the Belize Police Department, at least one of them ending up in the hands of the Benque Viejo formation. Today, however, the cops are in the market for a new one. It seems that over weekend, two officers from the station drove the blue Toyota Hilux pickup across the border to Melchor to meet with their counterparts in Guatemala, but they never quite got there. News 5 has confirmed that just across the frontier, a federal inspector cross-checked the Toyota’s vehicle identification number against their stolen car register…and guess what? The truck turned up hot. The pickup was immediately impounded and the Belizean police officers, identified as Inspector Francis Williams and Assistant Inspector Albert Kelly, were detained for questioning. The cops were eventually released, but rumour has it they walked all the way back to the station. This afternoon, both police in Benque and press officer G. Michael Reid declined to comment on the case. The Toyota Hilux was one of four seized along with two Prados, two Four Runners, one Nissan Patrol and two Dodge Caravans on November twenty-first 2001 from a warehouse at John Zabaneh’s Mayan King farm at the junction of the Southern Highway and Placencia road. Despite a lengthy investigation and strong suspicions, Belize police and customs officials never confirmed where the vehicles came from and no one was ever charged in the case. We will assume that the next time Belize police officers want to cross the border, they will take a taxi.

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