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Jan 22, 2020

A Suspected Drug Plane Lands in Rural Belize; Cargo Still in Country

Around midnight, villagers in the area of Crooked Tree Village, Belize District, say they heard a plane circling above. Hours later at around six o’clock this morning, police and B.D.F. descended in the village. A suspected drug plane, an HS 125 Hawker jet, was found intact close to the nearby village of Lemonal in rural Belize; it had landed successfully and had no signs of damage, but neither was any cargo found.  Normally, the planes are destroyed after the cargo has been removed. The police say the jet originated from Venezuela and its suspected drug cargo is still in Belize. Here is News Five’s Duane Moody.


Duane Moody, Reporting

A suspected drug plane lands in rural Belize District and police are looking for cargo and the narcos. A photograph acquired by News Five shows an intact aircraft on a dirt road in a remote area. The air stair of the plane is open but no one or any other items linked to the clandestine landing is seen in the area. Police say they were notified of the aircraft leaving South American en route to Mexico.


Chester Williams

Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police

“We have since deployed our officers to the area and it is not an easy place to reach; it is extremely rough terrain. From we got the information, we mobilized and we couldn’t get to the area because of the mucky terrain. All the police vehicles end up bogging and those are vehicles with four-wheel drive. And they couldn’t get to the location.”


Over in Crooked Tree Village, the low-flying plane was heard by residents around 11:30 p.m. and they say that several pickup trucks filled with officers rushed through the village and headed to the area of Blackburn Ridge, a remote area mostly farmland. The road goes on for miles until it becomes impassable for most motor vehicles. George Guest says that this is the second low-flying plane in four months that has been heard by residents in the area.


George Guest

George Guest, Resident, Crooked Tree Village

“I hear [makes rumbling noise] and I said but that doesn’t sound right. So I turned the sound down on my TV and I said, “Oh that’s an airplane.” But I don’t know where it landed. I know it landed, but I don’t know where it landed. But the only place I can know about is pine ridge, out in the sticks where the Mennonites are working, building a road.”


According to Commissioner of Police Chester Williams, the plane was destined for Mexico, but did an about turn so it would not have been intercepted by Mexican authorities. Williams says the plane landed in Belize around three a.m.


Chester Williams

“Late yesterday evening, we were notified of the plane coming out of South America and as we normally do, we deployed our officers to all the known locations where we believe the plane would have landed. The plane, from what we were made to understand, flew over Belize and went into Mexico and was going to land in Mexico, but the Mexican authorities had their air assets up—three of them I was told—and the three air assets that the Mexican authorities had up prevented them from making the land in Mexico. And so they came back over to Belize and went to land in that very unusual area. That was around three a.m. or thereabout this morning.”


It is believed that the cargo, which is believed to be illicit drugs, is still in country and has not been transported over the border into Mexico. There are vehicular checkpoints among other policing activities ongoing to intercept the persons and the cargo.


Chester Williams

“Despite that though, we still do believe that the content, and we believe it is drugs, is still in the country and we have teams out in the area searching the entire area hoping that we will find those who have the drugs in their possession. From what we gathered from the Mexican air recognizance was that there were three vehicles seen in the area of the plane, two of which had heavily armed men and we believe a pickup truck containing the drugs and so those are the vehicles that we are looking for right now. We know that there is some road or makeshift road that they can go through that area and go through the back and into Mexico so we have also looked to see how we could cut off that outlet and try to see if we can force them out to the highway. So police and B.D.F. are in the area and we are hopeful that we will be able to find the cargo.”


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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