14 million in cocaine busted by police Print
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Friday, 14 September 2018 00:00

It seems to be occurring more and more often but this time around law enforcement personnel were able to seize drugs and drug runners in the Tres Leguas area of northern Belize. On Sunday September 9th, a Venezuelan aircraft was found in the Tres Leguas area in Blue Creek, Orange Walk and one of the four persons who were found in the area was a Belize police officer. Said aircraft carried an approximate quantity of 1,226 pounds of cocaine, having an estimated street value of BZD million.

It was not until after a 45-minute shoot out with law enforcement officials, where no one was injured, that four people were detained. In the end a police officer and another Belizean and two Mexicans were detained.

This bust was more than sensational and as such, the Belize Police Department held an unusual press conference on September 11. There, COMPOL Allen Whylie shared details of the bust.

“On Sunday at about 2:06 p.m., we received information that an unregistered aircraft departed Venezuela.  As per protocol, the police deployed a, or activated a number of sources to assist us in monitoring activities countrywide. We continued to mount surveillance on some of the persons we believe would also be involved in these activities and throughout that afternoon we continued to receive a number of updates in terms of this aircraft and the position that it was. At about 7:00 p.m., we started receiving from some of our sources that an aircraft was seen, as well as heard in the north, in the area of Santa Martha, Carmelita area.  As a result, as the protocol, we deployed a number of joint police, coast guard, BDF teams countrywide and they proceeded to monitor some of the areas that had been used in the past.  Those monitoring continued.  We continued to receive different updates, as well as different sightings and sometime around 9:00 p.m. one of the joint police/BDF teams were approaching the northern community airstrip in the Blue Creek area and they met a police officer who is attached to the Blue Creek police substation in the vicinity.  He was stopped, he was spoken to and they were not satisfied in terms of what he said to them and so he was subsequently detained.”

That officer has since been identified as PC Norman Anthony. And while PC Anthony was not at the scene, his presence in the area raised suspicion.

Continuing, COMPOL Whylie detailed the shootout, “At that time, an aircraft was also heard in the vicinity.  The joint team approached the northern community airstrip and at about 9:16 p.m. they came under fire.  They consequently returned fire.  There was a firefight for, I believe, between half-an-hour to, perhaps, 45 minutes but it was obvious that the joint Police/B.D.F. team was superior.  They were able to overcome the firefight resistance and they were able to approach where they saw an airplane which they then secured and secured the area.  Additional police and B.D.F. teams came to also assist.  No members of the security forces were injured during that firefight.” It was during this gunfire that the pilot of the aircraft, a fourth person, managed to escape.

“As a result, a white with blue stripe single engine CESSNA aircraft was secured.  It was found to be loaded with suspected cocaine and also a white pickup truck with Mexican license plate was also secured.  That truck had one bail of what we then suspected to be cocaine, so obviously they were in the process of unloading. This plane, as I said, landed in the northern community airstrip which is located in the Tres Leguas area of the Orange Walk District.  A closer inspection of that aircraft indicated that the tail number is a fictitious one and we are yet to complete in terms of establishing the original tail number for that aircraft. We checked in the interior of the aircraft and subsequent counting resulted in the discovery of 26 bales, plus 2 parcels of suspected cocaine with a weight of 556.2 kilograms. There was also found two empty fuel gallons, a black school bag, a blue lunch bag and a grey bag, a navigation map, a notebook, five liters of engine oil, among other items.”

Along with the apprehension of those four persons, PC Anthony, the two Mexican nationals, and a Belizean civilian, another person has felt the effects of this operation. He is Spt. David Chi, the officer in command at the Orange Walk station. Spt. Chi has been placed on a 5-day administrative leave pending further investigation into the matter. PC Anthony has also been suspended.

From a press release issued by the Belize Police Department on Tuesday, September 11, it is understood that COMPOL Whylie has appointed an investigative team into the matter headed by ACP Robert Mariano.

Last Updated on Friday, 14 September 2018 14:32