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May 26, 2020

ComPol Williams Visits Santa Cruz to Put a Stop to Contraband

The village of Santa Cruz up north is a haven for contrabandistas and a way of life for the villagers.  Santa Cruz sits immediately in front of the Mexican community of Botes, across the Rio Hondo. For decades, contraband has flowed across the river and all sorts of goods make their way illegally into Belize.  But authorities want to keep Belize free of possible cases of the novel coronavirus from being imported from the Mexican side, so B.D.F. and police presence is being beefed up at Santa Cruz to keep the contrabandistas at bay. Here is Hipolito Novelo with a report.


Hipolito Novelo, Reporting

In Santa Cruz Village, there exists a gateway- an illegal point of entry- which Belizeans from across the country use to paddle across the Rio Hondo and into Botes, Mexico. The village is known as a contraband hotspot and Commissioner Chester Williams wants contraband activities to cool down given the COVID-19 Pandemic and Mexico’s increasing numbers.


Chester Williams

Chester Williams, Commissioner Police

“Looking from here you can see the Mexican village of Botes so it is a convenient location for contraband. However as you can see we have the presence here and we also have a police patrol for his area specially of this area. So with that I believe that we have been able to curtail the occurrences of contrabanding within this area, the Santa Cruz Area.”


Boats used to transport the contraband from Botes to Santa Cruz were in the area. They have been there for quite some time and authorities want to keep that way.


Chester Williams

“There are a number of boats that you can see in some corner over there that were being used to run contraband. We have some degree of control over them now so to some extent we have disabled the people who are doing the contraband but there is still many blind spots in the area that need to be monitored.”


And that is where the B.D.F. patrol comes into play. Armed officers traverse the Rio Hondo, looking out for contrabandistas.


Chester Williams

“What is done with the B.D.F. boat patrol is that they go to Douglas, to the east and then to Blue Creek to the west ensuring that the entire river area is patrol on a daily basis looking for those persons who are trying to take advantage of the blind spots.”


Chairlady, Kimberly Medina says that contraband activities have decreased significantly.


Kimberly Medina

Kimberly Medina, Chairlady, Santa Cruz Village

“It stopped a lot. It was controlled due to the BDF being installed here and staying almost for three weeks from now. So that has stopped. But we have to keep in mind too that it is not only the villagers. We also have Mexican side boats that coming in and out so we aret trying to control it day by day.”



“Are the Mexicans making sales on this side?”


Kimberly Medina

“Not really. Since the B.D.F. are here, they are patrolling every day going in and out of the village. We have police, immigration, all security forces so that is very hard for them to be going, coming here.”


Reporting for News Five, I am Hipolito Novelo.

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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