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Nov 15, 2002

Cops use new equipment to hunt weapons

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More often then not, crime news on this broadcast comes by way of a daily press release issued by the police department. This morning, however, rather than waiting by the fax machine, News 5′s Jacqueline Woods and George Tillett were invited to observe our crime fighters in action.

Jacqueline Woods, Reporting

Around 5:30 this morning members of the police anti-drug and canine units went into one of the hot neighbourhoods in Belize City and raided three houses situated on one family’s property on George Street. The adults and children were taken completely by surprised as the special unit entered their homes and conducted a search of the premises.

This type of exercise is not new, but for the first time police are using some new technology. In addition to the drug sniffing dogs, they’ve introduced a metal detector to look for guns and ammunition that may be well hidden in walls, ceilings or floors.

Sgt. Ervin Munoz, who recently attended a training course to learn how to use the equipment, headed the operation.

Sgt. Ervin Munoz, Police Anti Drug Unit

“This is a MD 2000, metal detector. As you can see, this is the search hallow, capable of detecting weapons, metals buried or inside walls, this is the control panel. It is very sensitive. But here in Belize in the yards and lots it is very difficult because we have a lot of steel, junk. But depending on the signal that it gives, once it’s a weapon or weapons, or cache of weapons, then the signal will be different as to the normal signal that it gives it or the normal alarm.”

But no alarms went off this morning and no weapons were detected. The only illegal substance found was a single stick of weed. When asked if he believes the exercise was a failure, Munoz says it was a success.

Sgt. Ervin Munoz

“When we find small stuff, it complements the big busts that come along in the future and it serves as intelligence gathering. Because that doesn’t mean if you go to a house or a target and we don’t find anything, it’s a failure. We gather intelligence and that intelligence will serve us in the future for future targets.”

However, the residents affected by the search were not impressed with the new technology, nor with their resulting loss of sleep.

Egbert August, Resident

“Well I feel bad because I no know what the happen, I noh know why they came to do this. I just feel bad about the matter. But I can’t do nothing, I just have to go with their programme, dig. If you noh want to open the door, they just stamp it open, because they do it already.”

Troy Tillett, Resident

“People they bust in your house any kind of way, can’t take this man. I noh know what is going on with these people.”

Jacqueline Woods

“They find anything in your house?”

Troy Tillett

“One, small stick ah weed, and this is a big operation. A small stick of weed and for that they say they will take me and my girl. I told them that dah my weed, mek I goh, I noh know what they deh pan.”

The police did take Tillett to the station, but sources tell News 5 it’s unlikely he will be charged with anything. Jacqueline Woods for News 5.

The metal detector was a gift from the Government of Great Britain.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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