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Feb 12, 2019

Dis One Have a Gun, Dat One Have a Gun

While thieves have managed to make off with a cache of weapons from a Belize City gun store, several arrests have been made in respect of other seizures conducted during a recent operation across the country.  Earlier today, a trio of men, including two Belizeans and a Guatemalan national, appeared in magistrate’s court in Benque Viejo where charges were levied on them for illegal firearms possession.  Over the weekend, the bust at the border town made headlines, as the men were caught in possession of an AK-47 rifle and a Galil firearm.  Questions still linger as to how the weapons were smuggled into the country via the western border, but today Commander of Operations, Senior Superintendent Marco Vidal shed light on a five-day operation which led to the recovery of several unlicensed weapons.  News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports.

 

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

The extensive spread of firearms across the country into a Belizean society that is determined to protect itself or advance the conspiracies of those who are equally bent on criminal activity, continues to be an area of concern for law enforcement.  In spite of a countrywide effort to remove as many guns off the streets, the constant proliferation of illegal weapons makes it difficult, if not impossible for police to keep up.  To every pistol that is reported as found property, to every arrest that is made when an individual is caught in possession of an unlicensed firearm, another one finds itself under the control of an offender.  On February fifth, the Belize Police Department commenced a five-day operation to recover as many illegal firearms as possible.

 

Marco Vidal

Sr. Supt. Marco Vidal, Commander of Operations

“Thirteen firearms were seized by the police, forty-seven 7.62 rounds of ammunition, forty-four 9mm, fourteen 5.56, ten 12 gauge cartridges, seven .380 rounds, three .23 rounds of ammunition and seven .38, as well.  These were operations that were done countrywide.  Of these seizures, six persons were arrested and charged for firearm-related offenses, five Belizeans and one Guatemalan national.”

 

The most recent was the indictment of three persons earlier today, including a minor.

 

Sr. Supt. Marco Vidal

“From the seizure of the Galil and the AK-47 and the forty-seven 7.62 and fourteen 5.56 rounds, two Belizeans and one Guatemalan national were arrested.”

 

Thirty-four-year-old Edgar Giovanni De La O, a businessman of Benque Viejo del Carmen, twenty-six-year-old Jorge Luis Reyes Villeda, a Guatemalan national, and a seventeen-year-old student were busted on Sunday morning with loaded weapons inside a parked Range Rover.

 

ACP Joseph Myvett, Head, National Crimes Investigation Branch

“When the officers arrived, one of those persons who was the driver of the vehicle had a struggle with one of the officers as he attempted to make an escape into the vehicle, while the other two were already inside the vehicle.”

 

Joseph Myvett

This morning, they all appeared in the lower court in Benque Viejo where they were charged jointly.

 

Sr. Supt. Marco Vidal

“So in regards to the seizure of the three firearms and the subsequent arrest of the three persons in Benque Viejo, all three persons have been charged for possession of prohibited firearm and also for possession of prohibited ammunition.”

 

That was out west within the past seventy-two hours.  In Belize City, a few days prior to that incident, a pair of young men appeared before Magistrate Emmerson Banner on Friday where they were both arraigned on five counts related to firearm offenses.

 

Sr. Supt. Marco Vidal

“On Wednesday, February sixth at 3 p.m., the Anti-gang Taskforce along with the Special Patrol Unit conducted an operation in Belize City as well at the residence of one Dean Anthony Williams.  Two firearms were seen thrown out of the premises.  They were retrieved and both Dean Anthony Williams, twenty-three-years-old of Diego Street and Herman Oliver Solis, nineteen-years-old, a fisherman of Diego Street, were arrested and charged for those firearms.  They were the occupants at the time of the search.  From that search we had a black Luger 9mm pistol loaded with ten live rounds and a black chrome nine millimeter pistol Daewoo brand loaded with thirteen rounds of ammunition.  The firearms, one was stolen from a premises and the other one was stolen during a robbery.”

 

Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.


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