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Jan 29, 2021

Drug Plane Crash Lands in Remote Area of Northern Belize District

Twenty-five bales of cocaine and nine men, most of whom are law enforcement officers, have been taken into police custody following an operation overnight in northern Belize District.  Regional counterparts were tracking an aircraft which departed from South America sometime earlier, and when it entered Belize’s airspace, police and B.D.F. officers wasted no time springing into action. The twin-engine aircraft went down in the area of Lemonal and Crooked Tree and by the time police responded to the location, they were able to capture one of two boats in a nearby lagoon. Inside the detained vessel were nine Belizeans who were in possession of two bales of cocaine. At the scene of the burnt aircraft were another twenty-three bales of cocaine. This morning a news team headed out to the remote area. Reporter Isani Cayetano and cameraman Rick Romero have the following story.



Isani Cayetano

Isani Cayetano

“Just behind me are the charged vestiges of a twin engine aircraft that crash landed overnight in this remote area of northern Belize District. Inside was a consignment of twenty-five bales of cocaine destined for the North American market.”


A law enforcement operation overnight somewhere in the vicinity of Lemonal and Crooked Tree villages led to the discovery of a burnt drug plane.  The flight pattern of the aircraft was being monitored by the Joint Intelligence Operation Command as it entered Belizean airspace.


Chester Williams

Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police

“Around 9:50 p.m., last night, we received information through JIOC of a plane leaving South America and that the plane may be heading our way.  Based on that information, we activated our different operation teams and deployed in different possible landing spots across the country. Sometime around 3:30 thereabout, the suspect aircraft entered our airspace and was being followed by the Mexican air asset which gave us some information as to its whereabouts. The plane was eventually spotted in the Hill Bank area by the team that was posted there and it faded off the radar, but we had sight of it. It made three circles within the area, and subsequently the team that was out saw that it went down in the Lemonal area.”


When the officers arrived at the scene, they soon observed a massive fire not far from where the aircraft went down.


Chester Williams

“The officers said that about twenty minutes after landing, they saw a huge flame from the area where the suspect aircraft had landed. And a few minutes later, they saw a boat in the lagoon heading west. The boat was moving at very high speed and so we were unable to catch that boat. But minutes later, another boat was seen, a smaller vessel this time, was seen coming from the same direction where they had seen the plane go down. And the officers were able to take possession of a boat that was in the Hill Bank area and went out into the lagoon and they were able to capture the second boat.”


Onboard the second vessel were several persons, including Special Patrol officer Tyrell Talbert, Police Constable Byron Clare of the K9 Unit, Lance Corporal Steve Rowland, Dwight McFadzean and another individual identified as the father of PC Clare.


Chester Williams

“Inside that boat were nine men and a search thereof yield two bales of what we believe to be cocaine. The individuals on the boat were taken to the dock where we learnt the names of the persons to be one Tyrell Talbert, who is assigned to the special patrols unit (SPU), one Byron Clare, police constable assigned to K9 Unit and I think one Steve Rowland – I think that’s the name – who is a lance corporal in the Belize Defence Force. We also had in the vessel, Dwight McFadzean, we have another man Clare, who is the father of PC Clare and some other individuals. There were a total of nine of them as I said. We took possession of the content of the vessel and the individuals were brought here at the Queen Street Police Station where two bales of suspected cocaine was weighed and amounted to somewhere around seventy-eight – no sixty-four kilos.”


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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