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Aug 9, 2012

Don Zabaneh; Will the U.S. extradite john and Dion?

It is said that when the U.S. sneezes, the world catches a cold. Belize is tied to the United States economically through imports as well as remittances from the Belizean Diaspora in North America. Now that the U.S. Treasury Department has used the kingpin act to designate Belizean businessmen John Zabaneh, Dion Zabaneh and Daniel Moreno as associates of the Mexican Sinaloa cartel on August eighth, there are serious economic implications for the agricultural industry. The designation under the kingpin act results in immediate seizure of all U.S. assets while barring U.S. citizens and businesses from conducting commercial activity with them. Mayan King Farm exports to the United Kingdom, so would those businesses in the U.K. that have accounts and interests in the U.S. also face sanctions? That’s one of the questions that News Five’s Andrea Polanco asked Eric Heyden, the US Embassy’s Public Affairs Officer.


Andrea Polanco, Reporting

The answer to the question of whether the U.S will be seeking extradition of fifty six year old John Zabaneh has been tossed around; But today Public Affairs Officer at the U.S Embassy, Eric Heyden says he doesn’t know of any request for Zabaneh or the other two men to be handed over.


Eric Heyden

Eric Heyden, Public Affairs Officer, Embassy of the U.S.A

“Well, first I’m very glad to hear that people are asking because we take this as a serious matter; one that is important to the U.S and perhaps, important to Belize and Belizeans also. As to extradition, no, I’m not aware of any extradition that is expected. The only information I have is from the Department of Treasury; their office of Foreign Assets Control. I mean you’re already familiar with the details of that; it is sort of a defensive blocking measure denying to certain named individuals and entities, the ability to use the U.S financial system.”


And while Zabaneh’s assets in the U.S have been frozen; what about third parties who conduct business with Zabaneh’s companies such as Mayan King, a premiere banana producer? Will this designation threaten those relationships that extend even to the U.K.?


Eric Heyden

“Well I resist the word threatened; you’re asking me two tricky questions but I will try to give you an answer. One of the questions has to do with jurisdiction, probably more for international lawyers than for me and one of the other one is a what if kind of thing. Let me try to answer; the jurisdiction here is for U.S persons and assets located in the United States. So if there were U.S Citizens, I am one or there were assets, you asked me about another  bank, a third party country’s bank such as the U.K; if they are properly the target of this organization, then yes, they might be frozen or blocked in some fashion under the announcement.”


Via his attorney, John Zabaneh issued a press release denying what he called are “wild and defamatory allegations.” Heyden says Department of Treasury doesn’t operate on that premise.


Eric Heyden

“Well, I think the best thing for me to do is to respond in support of my colleagues at the Department of Treasury. I find them to be very responsible. You will have noticed that in their press release that they have worked with the Drug Enforcement Administration. I have never known them to make wild or irresponsible or defamatory accusations or statements. I have quite a bit of confidence in their press release and in the information that they have provided to the public. What I would suggest as a possible solution is that Mr. Zabaneh would want to direct his question straight to the Department of Treasury; they are the best informed folks, not hard to reach and much of the information they have about this matter is available on their website and if there is anything the embassy can do to put Mr. Zabaneh or his representatives in touch with the Department of Treasury, if he or his representatives would like; we would be happy to assist.”


Heyden says that whilst neither Zabaneh or his legal representative made any verbal contact with the embassy; neither did they receive a copy of the press release. Reporting for News Five, I’m Andrea Polanco.


Heyden told us that as recent as 2007, there was a similar designation involving Belizeans in connection with a Colombian drug entity. There has also been another case as recent as January 2012 involving a Guatemalan woman.

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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32 Responses for “Don Zabaneh; Will the U.S. extradite john and Dion?”

  1. Uncle Benji says:

    Extradition or no extraditiont, is not the question. The question is why do so many dead beat Belizeans rejoice whenever someone successful like Mr. Z falls?

    The joy we derive from other people’s mishaps speaks highly of our strength of character……. we are weaklings, crabshit, blood leachers. We are at our best working in the white man’s factory, living under slave like conditions in gutted apartment buildings with rats as our best friends. Wake up Belizeans!

    Zabaneh is a guy that have employed thousands of Belizeans over two decades. What other individual has done that? The banana industry in Belize could easily go under with Zabaneh’s problems; and what is Ali-Ba-Barrow doing about it (he’s the minister of finance)? He’s taking a vacation with stolen monies. Your money, and that makes you very happy. Why do we enjoy getting screwed? Slave mentality.

    Wake up Belizeans!

  2. rasman says:

    Well said brother

  3. 100%_Belizean says:

    well said Benji!
    JZ and his company Maya King is very important to the economy of Belize. to hell with US they care less about our little Belize and the only thing they do is donate to authorities like coast guard and police because that is in their best interest and nothing to stimulate our economy.

  4. Buju says:

    It’s not about rejoicing when someone falls its about knowing that the good Lord no di sleep!

    Go to Mango Creek or at Mayan King and see people there who have fallen out with the Zabaneh’s – they are suffering!
    The zabaneh’s have the mentality that they run the show and if you are not with them you will suffer!!!

  5. Stygian says:

    Uncle Benji so because his business is so vital to the economic stability of the country we should totally forget about the gravity of the matter “DRUG TRAFFICKING” We are rejoicing because too long people with money have had their way with corruption and have had things swept under the rub. Try bribing America, nah go work!!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. IloveuBelize says:

    The lives of the Rich and Famous! As long as you are RICH, it doesn’t matter where your money comes from, its doesn’t matter whose blood is marked all over that money. AS LONG AS YOU ARE RICH, YOU ARE UNTOUCHABLE!

    For heavens sake Uncle B, go kiss Mr. Z baxide. Not you or him can save himself when the USA comes after him. He has done wrong and its time for him to pay.

    Your accusation of stolen money in Mr. Barrow’s hands is downright malicious, and obviously your nose is still up Mr. Z’s culo.

  7. Justice Be Served says:

    It doesn’t matter how many people are employed by illgotten gain businesses, the truth is, they still have to pay for all the evil the have done to get their fortune. It was just a matter of time before they caught up with them. We Belizean only look at one side, but you need to look at all sides to see the big picture. And even if they get away from man’s justice in this life, one day they WILL face God and receive their due judgment!

  8. enlightened says:

    Uncle Benj for president!!!

  9. ba says:

    “Don Zabaneh” more like Zabaneh DONE!!!!

  10. joe says:

    Let this man continue his work and continue employing more workers. Will Uncle Sam pay these poor people and send their kids to school? Keep our money rolling at home!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  11. bashikas says:

    the zabs are the most generous family in belize deh build church skool shelta and all di zabs are big people in the agriculture secta namely banana citrus and tourism developments and other major busniess in belize deh employ 25% ah di country an mek money float bout di place real

  12. Now i see says:

    @ uncle Benji also Pablo Escobar. You whant him to be a hero? Do you know how much of that $$#!@% stays in the country? How many kids are poison? How many familys destroy? STOP LICKING THIS ZABANEH @$$ AND LET THE AMERICANS DO THEIR JOB. The sinaloa cartel is the most violent from all cartels. I hope that your head will be the first one to come out on the front page of all BZE news papers. Too bad for the Moreno kid because he will take all the &#1+.(if not his head).
    Did Mario Villanueva talk? Thats the million dollar question.

  13. Bear says:

    Hating criminals and being willing to work at an honest job and fearing God isn’t a slave mentality. It’s a righteous one, and I believe most Belizeans are still righteous in their hearts, even though we suffer bad government and consequent bad economy. All the blood money in Belize won’t matter when you face Judgment, and that’s forever.

    A business empire built on criminal proceeds is like a house built on sand — it can’t last.

    It will be interesting to see whether JZ uses the legal procedures available to clear up his problem with the U.S. government. The decision to do that is in his hands, and if he is clean, he can take the initiative to solve the problem. Otherwise he will soon be banking with the Bank of Pyongyang or some place like that.

  14. stopthebs says:

    UNCLE BENGI INA MI YAAD SIT DOWN PAN A STONE….uncle bengi are you blind to what’s going on in Belize men open your eyes Zabaneh INC is drug dealing operation ,it’s been going on for a long time. i don’t believe your defending these guys .do you live in Belize maybe when one of youre relative or your kids get hook on drugs then you will ask the question why and who brought the drugs into Belize maybe then you will get a clearer picture about Zabaneh INC. WAKE UP DUDE..GOD BLESS BELIZE …..

  15. From the West says:

    Uncle benji, you real come across as a fool. Everyone knows Johnny was into drugs, and it is just right if he gets his due. Hopefully honest belizeans can find a way to prosper. Wealth gain illegally has no honor

  16. MzPutToRight says:

    So I’m wondering what worrying about Mr. Zabaneh is doing for all of you who are bad minded and malicious in your thinking and wishing that a hard working man falls. Because ah unu bad mind and stinking mouth he will make it and you will still be broke and wondering where you went wrong. Sad for you all who still stuck in the movies you see on TV that makes you all think that anybody who have a comfortable life has to make it thru drugs. Can’t really blame you all for being sad and depraved with no ambition nor hope. Grow the F up and learn to mind your own business. Stop watch wat other people have and start look fi unu own!!!

  17. Seletar says:

    It’s interesting to read the comments here.

    Some people think Belizeans are “supermen” who are above morality and the law, and seem to despise the rest of the world. For them a Belizean can sell poison and have blood dripping from his wallet, and he will be a hero because he was born here.

    Others are genuinely concerned for decency, substance, honest labor, and respect for all men and the law. I side with this group. I think God does, too.

  18. alley cat says:

    Belizean version of Too Big to FAIL!!! OR Too Big to Go to JAIL!!!

  19. Uncle Benji says:

    Belizeans that migrated to America in 60s-70s-80s tend to more failures than success. In our daily effort to survive we turn to religion, and God becomes a crutch. In our ignorance, we cannot decipher truth from fiction, and we hope that an unseen God will fi it. If the Americans say it, then it must be true. If the pastor said it, then I am saved from Satan’s claws. I say cacapoopoo. We are losers, so we want to see everyone in the same boat.

    If the belize banana industry bites the dust, it will cripple us. It is not like we can recoup in six months that which took us 39 years to build. But screw the banana economy, think about the ripple effect it will have on our families finances. Perhaps Jesus can come down and resuce us.

    Slave mentality is what I see…… Belizeans are bad. Belizeans are drug dealers because the USA said so, and Jesus approved it.

  20. BMNJ says:

    Once there’s money to be made in the banana industry, even if Zabaneh & his company falls, some other local or foreign investors will come in and replace him. Hence, jobs for the hundreds & thousands will still be available.

  21. ceo says:

    There is a dimension (perhaps the most important) that should be used in the calculus of success and this is honesty! Ill gotten gains is not success. This is why the country is not improving and why there is so much crime in the streets.

    All politicians should also be made to declair their wealth before they are allowed to enter into elected politics. They should also be made to disclose their net worth every year and after they leave office.

  22. junie says:

    it’s time to acccept GOD-MAN theory. Stated by Bob Marley, Ghandi and martin Luther king, Jr.We need to create one world, one money and one race of humans. we need to come together and create new ideas and stop producing old values. through creating new values we will make life easier for everyone and prices will keep falling. stop the hate for each other and start working together.

  23. JUNIE says:

    accept god-man theory. create new values and stop producing old values, then we will make life easier for everyone and prices will come falling down. Love to bob marley and martin luther king, jr. ONE WORLD , ONE MONEY AND ONE RACE OF HUMANS.

  24. Tom page says:

    The Mayan King op can be sold. End of story.

  25. yahoo says:

    what will happen to Galen now?

  26. Eye in the Sky says:

    Zabaneh’s relatives are big time business persons in the Belize City plumbing supplies. Their brother was also fingered in the drug business in the 80′s I think.
    Danny Moreno’s family is also huge in building supplies also in Belize City.
    Both Zabaneh’s and Moreno’s Belize City family are rags to riches stories in a broke country full of hungry poor.
    While the rest of us work our @$$es and struggle to pay the bills they got rich quick and easy.

  27. ashamed to be a Belizean says:

    As I read the comments of the one calling himself “Uncle Benji” I am saddened to think that there are still stupid Belizeans out there who were dragged up with out morals: Are not embarrast to let the world know how dumb they are. Boy your mamma should be slapped for your education. Please just leave “God and or Jesus” out of this as the almighty will claim that “He never knew you”
    Have you heard about what happened to the wealth of sinners. By the way I learned that in religion class in primary school Belize.

  28. 100%_Belizean says:

    QUOTE [Once there’s money to be made in the banana industry, even if Zabaneh & his company falls, some other local or foreign investors will come in and replace him. Hence, jobs for the hundreds & thousands will still be available.]
    See this is just the thing, we are ready to crucify our Belizean to allow a foreign investor to come save us. Look at the history of US, everything has to be in their best interest. they go into your country, frigup things then their own citizens take over the very same industry. that is all they do.

    the south survive from the banana and citrus industries, this is a very successful Belizean business but we ready to allow America to destroy it.

    some of you are naive to believe that Belize is where it is now from just hard work, we are the gateway for transshipment but in the end we have to face the creator, but for now we need some bad so good can shine.

    as for you, stay in the good and don’t get involved in the bad.

  29. dor says:

    look benji no matter how much sense you try to give to them, crabs will be crabs you can’t change the way they walk, they will continue to walk backwards and pull down each other once in a bucket (at the time of trouble.)yer them so righteuous now, but when they own family the sell drugs only fi bling instead of helping their country they hush hush now because da ZABANEH everything is unu think america was built on righteousness?go check their history places like las vegas and many other in america was built off drug. and if they always right where was the weapon of mass destruction they thought sadam had?
    all the godly people who so righteous god never say not to judge, all of you convince he is guilty
    without they even putting him on trial.
    stop use the name of god fi cover unu bad mind.

  30. dor says:

    yer this idiot /,,,, uno nuh mind foreigners come take over our industries but when a belizean owns something uno hope something goes wrong or glad if something goes wrong.he is quite capable of running his bussiness and will continue to do so, you bad minder !@@@r lotta unu got family weh the sell drugs fi bling and nuh do sh&t fi the country but unu hush hush bout them dat da weh unu fi worry bout

  31. freddy says:

    I kinda agree with uncle binji belize banana industry employs lot’s of people if the industry goes down the economy will long as no belizeans are getting hurt let them live there life,the united states will not take over the belize banana industry wakeup my belizean peeps.

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