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Jun 24, 2019

Quintuple Murder at Sea; was it Drug Related?

Going into the weekend, police and the coastguard were on high alert at sea searching for two Belize City youths who could not be located. They were the youngest of five men who went on a fishing trip last Tuesday.  On Thursday evening, the lifeless body of Travis Cooke was discovered near Swallow Caye; he had been shot and dumped in the sea in only an undershirt and boxers. Fifteen hours later, the bodies of two others were discovered on Friday morning. Boat captain and fisherman, Ernest Wills Senior, was retrieved from the waters near Yarborough; he too had been shot and killed. An hour later, the decomposing body of Winston Santos was recovered from mangroves near the north end of Swallow Caye. Post-mortem exams were conducted on all three at the medical college on the Burrell Boom Road and were buried immediately after. On Saturday, the decomposing bodies of nineteen-year-old Allyson Jones and twenty-one-year-old Jamar Martinez were discovered behind Mapp Caye, seven miles from Belize City. News Five’s Duane Moody has been following the story and files a report on the quintuple homicide.

 

Jamar Martinez & Allyson Jones

Duane Moody, Reporting

After two days of searching, the decomposing bodies of Jamar Martinez and Allyson Jones were found, taking the body count up to five. They were tied together in some mangroves behind Mapp Caye, four miles away from where their relatives, Winston Santos and Travis Cooke, were found near Swallow Caye. Coastguard was active in the investigation as they patrolled the area in search of the bodies; the vessel was discovered on Friday.

 

Greg Soberanis

Lt. Com. Greg Soberanis, Belize Coast Guard

“It’s a huge area, it is a vast area, so it requires strategic planning in how you deploy your assets and personnel and considering certain factors as you do you operational design for your area of operation to have effectiveness and efficiency in countering the narco trafficking activities.”

 

Was the quintuple murder drug-related? Police believe that the men came up on a ‘wet drop’ sometime before and their investigation is pointing to the discovery as the cause of their demise. In his statement, Commissioner of Police Chester Williams makes reference to a post made by Martinez on May eighth which shows money, as well as a firearm, strewn across a bed.

 

Chester Williams

Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police

“When you are in possession of large sums of money, please don’t be showing off on social media with your large sum of money because people are watching and it makes you an easy target. If it is that you have your large sum of money, how you get it is your business, but don’t show it off because it gives people the perception that there is much more where that comes from and you will become a target.  While they make look at the proceeds of these substance by a means of collecting large sums of money, it does come with a risk. And so I would want to emphasize to the Belizean people not to be combing the beaches or the waterways looking for these substance; and if it is that they should come across any of these packages, that they report to the police or to the coastguard so that we can retrieve the substance and get it out of circulation. These things do come with a cost and sometimes the cost is your life.”

 

Ernest Wills Sr.

The murders have devastated the families. Erica Wills told News Five that the loss of their loved one has left the family heartbroken. She identified her father by the tattoo on his right shoulder.

 

Erica Wills

Erica Wills, Daughter of Deceased [File: June 21st, 2019]

“My mom called me after ten and tell me, “Gial yo know something, yo pa dead.” I say, “No ma. My pa noh dead.” Ih say yes, yo pa dead. Ih say ih gone dah caye and then dehn say that ih dead. The young man weh dehn find mi deh with yo pa. I say, “No ma, my pa noh dead cause I mi wah feel it.” So when I gone dah work this morning, I just mi have wah vibes. And I say, if dah m y pa, dehn wah find my pa today. Please make dehn find my pa today. And so said, so done and I gone to the morgue and the police come and dehn put it up on the Facebook and I identify that that dah mi my pa with a female tattoo on ih shoulder. I know that dah my pa cause I just feel my heart start to flutter and I tell dehn that’s my father. My father just leave four children behind—two girls and two boys—and one granddaughter. I don’t know why people have to take away my father is a loving person; my father is a fisherman from I know myself.”

 

While additional forces were deployed to deal with the offshore illicit activities in the south, the police will now team up with the Belize Coast Guard to patrol the Belize City coastline.

 

Chester Williams

“I will ask my friend from the coastguard how we can do that because we have earlier in the year, the matter with Mister Neal; again from Mapp Caye. And then now we have this one. But it seems that the Mapp Caye/Swallow Caye is the main area closer to Belize City. And while yes we received information of wet drop, we were focusing more on the south because we had received information that the wet drop was in south. And we have deployed additional police officers to Dangriga and Placencia as well as Riversdale, to be able to deal with the effects of it in the south, but it would seem as if some of it may have drifted his way. And we had also heard of wet drops in north Ambergris Caye. When it is that it is difficult for them to land on land, they would drop the drugs somewhere in the sea and then those persons who are supposed to retrieve it, would go to the area and they’ll pick it up. But you will know that sometimes when it drops, the package or the bail or however it is may come apart. And so while the collectors may get the large amount, some may go lose. And it is the one that goes loose that normally drifts along the shoreline.”

 

Duane Moody for News Five.


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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