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Nov 5, 2021

Drug Plane Lands Near Bladen, Police Officers are Involved

A sizeable haul of cocaine was confiscated by local law enforcement officers when a twin-engine aircraft landed on the Southern Highway near Bladen Village on Thursday night.  The last time that stretch of road was used as a runway for a drug plane landing was in November 2010 when several police officers were arrested for their purported involvement in the landing.  Last night was eerily familiar, as a Piper Cheyenne touched down in that location and was met by a team of police officers who were not on duty.  In fact, it is believed that they were there to assist in the unloading of the illicit cargo.  This evening, two policemen are in custody and a third is being sought in connection with the overnight landing.  Their arrest succeeded a shootout with fellow officers from Intermediate Southern Formation who responded to the scene.  We begin our coverage of the latest drug plane landing with a report from News Five’s Isani Cayetano.


Isani Cayetano, Reporting

Twenty-two bales of cocaine, a cache of high-powered assault rifles, an aircraft in the middle of the Southern Highway, and a daring firefight between responding officers and a team of heavily armed men.  That’s the scene that played out overnight when a drug plane touched down near Bladen, Toledo District, around 9:30 p.m. on Thursday.


Chester Williams

Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police

“Based on that information obtained, a team of four police officers from Intermediate Southern Formation was deployed to the location.  Upon arrival there they saw the plane on the ground, [with] vehicles and persons around which would indicate that cargo was being unloaded from the plane.  The four police officers attempted to engage the traffickers and the number of persons who were involved in this unloading was around fifteen to twenty persons and we only had four police officers.”


Despite being outnumbered and outgunned, the lawmen did their best to thwart the illegal operation that was happening in plain view.  Not far away, the Piper Cheyenne was being offloaded, as the officers looked on from their retreat.


Chester Williams

“Nonetheless, these officers were brave enough and attempted to engage these traffickers and they subsequently came under heavy fire.  Despite that, the officers maintained position and withdrew a bit but still put themselves in a position where they could have seen what was taking place.  Moments later, a white Toyota truck was seen leaving the landing site carrying what they believed was the cargo from the plane, heading towards Punta Gorda Town.  Based on that, we deployed a team of police officers and elements of the Belize Defense Force to go and mount a checkpoint on the Southern Highway going to Punta Gorda Town.”


The vehicle in question, along with two occupants, was subsequently intercepted farther down the highway .  While it was not carrying any of the shipment that was discharged from the aircraft, a sweep of the general vicinity turned up a significant quantity of cocaine.


Chester Williams

“We suspected more or less where they may have taken the cargo and, again, between myself and Mr. Grinage who was on the ground, we communicated and coordinated that searches be conducted in two particular areas.  Thankfully, the search yielded twenty-two bales of cocaine and just moments ago, we came across another two bales or three bales.  So that would bring us to a total of twenty-five bales.  Each bale from what we have seen now because we have not counted and weighed the substance contained thirty bricks.”


It comes as no surprise that several police officers were involved in the landing and offloading of the drug plane.  The firefight that ensued was presumably an exchange of gunfire between fellow policemen.  Fortunately, no one was injured.


Chester Williams

“We also conducted a search of a white Nissan Rogue which was left on the scene by the plane and inside that Nissan Rogue, we found five assault rifles, one of the rifles we have identified to be that which was stolen from the police station in Succotz during a burglary.  The other four are not known to us but we have those in custody along with seventeen magazines, each containing thirty rounds.”


A black sports utility vehicle belonging to Sergeant George Ferguson was found on scene, along with an arsenal of weapons.


Chester Williams

“We recognized the vehicle to be a vehicle that was used by Sergeant Ferguson who is assigned to operations office in Belmopan.  And so, inside the vehicle, we also found some documents which contains or which bears the name of Sergeant Ferguson.  So we know for a fact that based on what we found on the scene, police officers are involved in this latest plane landing.  We believe that other than Sergeant Ferguson that there may be two other officers involved.  We currently have those two police officers in custody and we are still seeking Sergeant Ferguson.”


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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