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May 25, 2011

Cabana owner phones from prison walls

It is five days since the property of La Cabana owner, Mike Menjivar, in Las Flores, Belmopan was raided by the Gang Suppression Unit. Menjivar, his pregnant wife, their children and maid were all in the house when the G.S.U. carried out the pre-dawn attack. The G.S.U. head, Marco Vidal, gave his account of the operation, which was based on a tip. Since then images have surfaced of how the raid was conducted and the damage cause by the shootout that ensued. Over a hundred bullets were reportedly fired throughout the building, including the children’s room and Menjivar was badly beaten. On Tuesday, he, his wife and maid were charged with a slew of offences and put behind bars. Today, News Five’s Isani Cayetano spoke one on one with the couple who shared a gripping and emotional account of the raid.

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

Popular nightclub owner Miguel Menjivar, also known as Mike, as well as his pregnant common-law wife Iliana Chacon and their babysitter Rumilda Perez remain in lockdown at the Central Prison tonight where they are on remand following a slew of charges stemming from an early morning raid on his premises near the outskirts of Belmopan last Friday.  At dawn a team of G.S.U. officers led by Assistant Superintendent Marco Vidal descended upon Menjivar’s home in search of drugs and ammunition.  The unit’s cloak-and-dagger approach however, ultimately led to an exchange of heavy gunfire damaging the property extensively.

News Five spoke by phone with Menjivar and Chacon this afternoon and they recounted the harrowing experience from behind prison walls.

Mike Menjivar

Via Phone: Mike Menjivar, On Remand at Belize Central Prison

“When I woke up, we closed the club like two o’clock that Saturday night. When the situation, when we get to know what was happening in the house, actually it wasn’t the noise that they were doing, it was a phone call that we get from the watchmen of La Cabana—he told us that something was happening in our house—that we have to see what’s happening. When I wake up, my wife wake me up because she took the call then all I hear was that the main door of my house was getting knocked down—was getting kicked and knocked down. So I run and went to see what was happening. Then I went to shoot through the door. When I heard that the door was almost dropping, I shoot like three shots  through the door, then I run back to my room and try to see who or what was happening outside. I opened a window and I watch outside and all I see was a truck with no police letter—no kinda letters—it was a grey or a metallic color looking truck. Then we call to the station that please send help to our house cause we’re getting assaulted, or killers—we didn’t have an idea of what was happening. I have never heard that in my life yet, I wasn’t expecting this experience. And then the lady said that the police is on the way.”

Despite having called Belmopan police for help, unbeknownst to Menjivar his home was being assaulted by another branch of the police department.

Via Phone: Mike Menjivar

“After this, I get shots all over my house, all around my house. I heard my kids crying in the room and I get desperate. I run back to my room to protect my wife and my other daughter. And they shoot all over my house—I don’t know how many shots; maybe over a hundred—through all my doors. So then we called to the station again to please hurry up cause these guys are already almost inside. The lady said that the police is almost there, to please hold on. I was trying to hold on until the help get from the police station. Now the third or fourth time that we called to the station was for the reason that these guys were already inside my house and I cannot see them because I don’t have a window like from my room to the walkway—to the area inside my house. And they were now knocking off the door of my room. When they were knocking off the door of my room, we moved to the restroom and we called to the lady because when they were knocking off the door to my room all of them were shouting police, police, police. We get desperate. We called back to the station and we tell he lady Miss, they’re saying they are police. The lady say no, no, no, no, all the police I know where all my police are and most fo the police are here only the patrol unit that went to help your house. Please noh open, wait for the police to reach to your house and help you.”

The G.S.U. officers eventually entered Menjivar’s home and proceeded to breach his bathroom door where he and his family had taken refuge.

Via Phone: Mike Menjivar

“They were shooting all over and if I don’t open, they would knock off the door of my restroom too and they were going to kill me, my daughter and my wife. So when they were saying they were police, I couldn’t identify it, but I give up—first I give them my gun. I opened the door to the restroom and I give my gun, then I give myself to get arrested without resisting arrest. They handcuffed me the hardest that they can. Then they start to kick my face until they break my jaw and broke my nose too and a pool of blood was created on the floor. I don’t know if you guys get any image like this. And they kicked me there in that pool of blood for four hours. I wasn’t even able to breathe in that pool of blood.”

His wife Iliana, who recently completed her first trimester of pregnancy, is also on remand on nine counts as a result of the confrontation.

Iliana Chacon

Via Phone: Iliana Chacon, On Remand at Belize Central Prison

“My biggest concern is my kids. You know, we are locked inside and my kids are traumatized and we can’t even take care of them because I’m being charged as Mike said with the same charges which is very ridiculous. So to you and everybody, my babysitter is being charged with the same charges. He was the only one with a gun. I have my gun, we have gun licenses, I didn’t use my gun. So my biggest concern right now is my kids and I am thankful that they are alive because seriously with all the gunshots that I heard, I seriously thought they were dead because I was handling my little girl. She is ten years old, she has brain problems and she has to sleep with us. So I had to protect her. I put her in one of the only rooms that do not have low windows. If they had low windows, we would be dead by now.”

The obvious question since the incident last Friday has been whether the Gang Suppression Unit used excessive force in storming Menjivar’s property.  It is yet to be established however, which of the two parties opened fire first.  Freelance Journalist Rhenae Nunez, who also works with Menjivar’s attorney, Arthur Saldivar, has weighed in her opinion.

Rhenae Nunez

Rhenae Nunez, Freelance Journalist

“The account that Mr. Vidal gave for his actions along with the Gang Suppression Unit, I’m sorry but I don’t buy it. The evidence does not support his account of what happened.  It begs the question now: Since Mister Menjivar has been charged with attempted murder and damage to property and all of that, what are the charges being levied for the attempted on his life, that of his children and his wife? It begs that question of the state.”

Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

The couple’s lawyer, Arthur Saldivar, has applied for an early bail hearing. The Menjivars and Rumilda Perez face nine counts each of attempt murder and aggravated assault while Mike faces an additional count for damage to property.

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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60 Responses for “Cabana owner phones from prison walls”

  1. Vision says:

    For people to think he is one of the Zetas is one of the most hilarious and stupid things to say and think. Do you know how the zetas deal with situations like this? They have their own perspective and as far as i see Mike is paying for something unfairly, which only means he works hard to get where he’s at and he is not involved in no zetas BS.
    on another note, what were the GSU thinking? they obviously watch too much tv as means of training….this was not Osama Bin Laden, idiots.
    Dean Barrows plan is backfiring on him, these things need to be planned out and thought through. think about the outcome.

    to DVirgin
    You are obviously racist, i dont want to say what im really thinking. If these guys are there to defend him it’s because Mike has the money to pay for it, sorry to know you don’t. Not only black people suffer, and not only being black makes you belizean. Let go of some of your rabies….if it wasn’t for the other races in this country, tell me how far would you have gotten alone? I am black too.


  2. Dan Armeneau says:

    With Government sanctioned, CIA/DEA connected thugs prowling around the country in unmarked vehicles, almost surely filled up with the Government credit card, shooting up the pet dogs and spraying automatic gunfire up the walls of a little girls bedroom I don’t think you have to worry all that much about petty gang warfare.

    No sir! You should be worried about some former or current acquaintance that may have been chanced at one time or another, maybe even by mistake or misunderstanding, providing these G-Thugs with a roll of cash wrapped up in an “Anonymous Tip” as a bit of BONUS for the outstanding job they‘ve been doing controlling crime in the big city. At any moment you could have your family home shot up big time just like the folks in “Act I” of the “Shoot Up at the OK Cabaña“.

    I would even be worried about my neighbours pi$$n off somebody they shouldn’t have and then having these buffoons roll into the neighbourhood “taking care of business” and be the victim of ricocheted bullet coming off the door knob of the neighbour kid’s bedroom door as these clowns get in a little “gun practice“. Stayed tuned for “Act II” of the “Shoot Up at the OK Cabaña“. Wonder if any of these bozos are going to die from “friendly fire”. It’s got to be at least a 50/50 chance you would think. Shoot from the hip and hope for a hit! Professionally trained my arse!

    From what’s become of this and the evidence presented by the media so far it’s beginning to get more than a bit disturbing that these people remain incarcerated! The punishment endured by this family for the past week is completely disproportional to the perceived crime, if in deed there ever was a crime (and it‘s becoming increasingly evident there never was).

    Heads should roll but it doesn’t appear too likely. Three members of an “Organized Crime Family” remain behind bars on trumped up charges of “Attempted Murder” conveniently brought down by someone in the Prosecutor’s Office with close ties, you might even say they’re married, to the Commander of the “Elite” law enforcement “Goon Squad Unit”. No conflict of interest here folks, move along!

    If there’s anything “fishy” going on here I hope I’ve made it abundantly clear where I stand on the issue! This whole affair needs to be addressed in a manner consistent with democratic values and basic human rights. Anything less is a blatant miscarriage of justice and a travesty of untold proportions!

    At this moment I look up at a photograph on my wall of the beautiful little lady (my niece’s daughter) whose pink bedroom was shot up by some trigger happy lunatic with a Government pay cheque and a fully automatic weapon clipped up with live ammo. I just shake my head and wonder what this bonehead tells his children when they ask him, “What did you do at work today?” I’ll bet that quaint little conversation would be more than a bit revealing as to the mentality of each and every member of the G-Thug Unit.

    Yah, these folks who have been so completely traumatized by this outrageous incident are family but let me be perfectly clear! That in no way influences what, I know in my heart, is so completely wrong about this whole affair.

  3. Justice says:

    This is one time I wish that the entire GSU would have been wioed out. that is no way to treat people. It has me thinking that once barrow flly omplements his law with trial without jury these type oif things will be the norm.

  4. chabelli says:

    i condemn the senseless slaughter of the doggies

  5. jerson says:

    does !@$$%^& police men are soo !@#$%^& stupid.. that was not right what they did.. charge them!!!!!!!!!!!! they are not animals.. they are human just like them.. imagine how would they react if the same thing was done to them.. mike was just defending his family.. !@#$%^& police.. mike might not be a saint but thats not the right way to approach him.. GSU should pay for what they did

  6. Iliana aka lala says:

    Thank you for does nice coments Dan I’m writing and crying write now, I just reach home and I’m just seeing imagies of what this stupids did to my house and my family, it’s disgusting for me to see this images thru computer cause eventhou I just reach home from jail. I cannot go to my house I know I don’t have the strength enough to see my house in this conditions yet I hope I can overcome this sad feeling I have about my so unfair situation,

  7. Belizean Girl says:

    Why isn’t any one asking if it is normal for a citizen to answer their front door with gun shots directed at anyone calling outside. I don’t believe any normal Belizean responds to knocks at their door to be life threatening, so much so that he had to start shooting at whom ever was outside his house. No one has the right to shoot out at anyone without having justifiable reason to believe his life is threatened. And yes, it could have been my house, but it also could have been me knocking at the door, scary for sure. Menjavar’s irrational response to the police calling at the front door makes me believe he either has something to hide or has done something wrong and is expecting danger.

    The police is doing their job, the public need to realize that the police is a authority that enforces the law, and when their life is threatened, they have every right to respond with equal force. The Menjavar family should have thought about the safety of the family first and inquired who was at the door before assuming. They are not above the law nor above any authority in Belize. The Menjavar’s are responsible for the manner in which the search unfolded.

    Besides, a licensed holder of a gun, knows that there are safety measures and risks that come with owning a gun. Using a gun in any situation is not a right, but a privilege and so it should be used in justifiable situations. Gun license holders know that owning a gun comes with taking responsibility for when it is used unjustly. In this case, he had no reason whatsoever to start shooting outside his house. He could have caught an innocent officer who, by the way is being paid to do their job.

    Anyone who knows the risk involved in being an officer, would understand that the officers had a right to also protect their life. This is why not many Belizeans apply to become a law enforcement officer, because it takes courage to be one knowing that there are people like the Menjavar’s who believe they can just shoot at anyone including the police.

  8. Belizean girl too says:

    Dear,dear Belizean girl did you ever got informed of what really happened at that residence?no one is asking about that question you are concerned because after hearing someone killing your dogs and breaking into your house fence and bringing down your door and saying slowly ‘police”what would you have done in Mr.Menjivars place?Wait for them to finish off all your family and then you?They never had police vehicles,lights or anything to warn they were police.Officers have the right to save their life of course if they feel they are in danger!but stop and think for a second,these GSU criminals shoot to kill these whole family! thank God Mr. Menjivar saved his family. Whatever these gangsters are someone need to put a stop on them before they find more innocent victims,which might not be so lucky as the Menjivars.To answer your question,myself,you and i know that a real Belizean wo uld have reacted in a more aggresive manner than that with those G.S.U Families prosecutors.Oh and they dont knock with their hands they knock with huge hammers!think abuot it if you are really Belizean what would you do?

  9. mary says:

    Mike was defending his family He has all right to do so, and besides the charges that was created due to the manner of which this incident unfold…..did the GSU find what they were lokking for or was this a dry run?

  10. Bmp resident says:

    First of all the G.S.U entered the home jumping the fence walls like real assailants that they are,and then when greeted by the dogs they started shooting at the creatures killing two instantly and leaving one with three gun shots fighting for his life until seven at night time that he died after been like 14 hour injured with no treatment by those bastards,when we finally had permission to enter the residence,it was to late to do something for the faithful dog that stayed there with his owners until they were taken by G.S.U at 6pm. other two a chihuahua and a pomeranean died the following day. anyways answering Mary’s question,No No,they never found nothing except some cash,eventhough they spent around thirteen hours on the search,of course everyone in the area knew that they were killing time in the house so none of us could see how they had Mr. Menjivar due to the beat up they G.S.U gave him ,but still yet when they finally took him outside his face was all swell up and then we found out they had broke his jaw.They found two licensed guns that belong to them,that was all.The entire house looks terrible,with bullets on every wall inside and out,all windows around were broken a pool of blood and the shots all over is the only thing left there.we could immediately imagine the terrorrific day the Menjivars had !!! And to think up to this day,no warrant has been shown to the family nor them and still they have that innocent family paying for so much brutallity the GSU did.Now they are covering themselves with those stupid charges they put against the three so they go clean taking advantage of more people and putting them in jail until they feel like,because that is the real cruelty we are living now.I wonder how much long the Menjivars will have to suffer to be together again like the family they were.All because he defended his family!!!!!G.S.U do you have a little concience and where is it?God is watching over his people,reason why the Menjivars are alive!!!!!Thank you Lord.

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