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Feb 27, 2020

Biggest Cocaine Haul in Belize’s History is Recorded

The biggest cocaine bus here in Belize took place in the wee hours of this morning. Combined work of the Belize Defense Force, the Police and Central American counterparts tracked a Gulf Stream narco plane originating from Venezuela. The plane landed two miles off the Coastal Road, where work has just began on its upgrade.  The B.D.F. was able to secure the plane loaded with sixty-nine bales of cocaine, which were transferred to the Racoon Street Police Station around nine-thirty today under heavy security escort. But there were no arrests. News Five has been following the anti-drug operation from early this morning. Isani Cayetano has a report.


Another drug plane landed in rural Belize in the predawn hours of this morning.  It is one of dozens of flights that have been en route to this tiny Central American country from the point of origin in Venezuela.  Laden with a payload of sixty-nine bales of cocaine the aircraft touched down on a crude runway in a remote area of the Belize District, approximately two miles off the Coastal Road.


Chester Williams

Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police

“This morning early around 12:15 or 12:30 thereabout, a track was observed leaving Venezuela heading our way.  Based on the tracking we mobilized as we would normally do and the tracking was followed closely by an air asset of another Central American country all the way into our airspace.  When the tracking arrived in our airspace sometime around four this morning, one of our neighboring country’s air assets was deployed and again it kept monitoring for us.  The plane landed at approximately 4:05 a.m. this morning and the team comprising of police and B.D.F. quickly responded to the area where we got the information that the airplane had landed and upon our arrival at the location we found the plane which is a G2 jet.”


Isani Cayetano

Isani Cayetano

“The landing of a Gulf Stream aircraft in this vicinity of the Coastal Road sometime overnight has resulted in another seizure of cocaine coming in from South America.”


Chester Williams

“Inside the plane was sixty-nine bales of what we suspected to be cocaine.  Those sixty-nine bales amounted to two thousand, seventy parcels of suspected cocaine.  We also found in the area two M-16 rifles and some masks.  We believed that those persons who were involved in the plane landing might have seen us coming into the area from a distance and by the time we got to the location they had disappeared.  We still have teams in the area searching, with the hope that we will find person or persons.  The drugs were subsequently moved from the location.”


The sizeable haul of narcotics was then transported overland, by a convoy of heavily armed vehicles, into Belize City where each bale was hefted from the back of the flatbed truck and taken into storage.  Contrary to reports made earlier, Commissioner of Police Chester Williams says that there was no sum of money found onboard the aircraft.


Chester Williams

“Let me say that there was no monies being moved, it was only drugs.  No money was found on the plane or within the area of the plane.  The investigation into the plane landing with a view to ascertain who the players are continues.  Fingerprints were lifted from the plane and those prints will be sent to the AFIS, as well as to the Interpol to see if we can make a match either locally or internationally.  We believe that the print might be for the pilot so we’ll see if there is anything on the pilot on Interpol database because Interpol does deal with fingerprints as well.  So we’ll check to see if there is a match where that is concerned.”


The location where the business jet landed is in the area of a crude runway where the burnt vestiges of another suspected drug plane are found.  The airstrip, notwithstanding its makeshift construction is flat and intact.


Isani Cayetano

“Was there no effort made in the first instance perhaps to destroy this particular airfield?”


Chester Williams

“Not to my knowledge.  We still need to ascertain the owner of the airstrip because while yes, there are a number of these makeshift runways that we want to destroy but they are on private property and we cannot just go and destroy people’s land just like that.  From what we are made to understand the owner of that land may not be in Belize and if it is that we can contact the person then we might be able to solicit that person’s consent to see what can be done to destroy the runway or the makeshift runway.”


On the ground this morning, I made my way over to where the aircraft was being processed and held watch by a team of armed B.D.F. officers.  Along with them were personnel from the Civil Aviation Department.  The objective, as far as we were informed off-record, was to have the airplane flown out of the area by late this evening.  The operation was a success, according to Minister of National Security Michael Peyrefitte.


Michael Peyrefitte

Michael Peyrefitte, Minister of National Security

“I must congratulate the combination of the B.D.F. and the police, exceptional officers.  It was the right combination of intelligence and properly using that intelligence to execute the raid that took place this morning.  So congratulations to them for pulling that off and hopefully this would send a message that once again, Belize is not a place that you bring drugs, Belize is not a place that you pass drugs through.”


Isani Cayetano

“Were you abreast of any aspect of the operation overnight?”


Mike Peyrefitte

“Oh yes, every aspect of it.  I was kept, I was constantly being briefed and right up to the operation time and when the execution took place I was notified immediately of what happened.”


The street value of the illicit cargo, according to ComPol Williams, is still being calculated. Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

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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