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#408831 - 05/28/11 10:58 AM GSU goes ballistic in Belmopan
Marty Offline

The Gang Suppression Unit has been under a great deal of public scrutiny after a house-raid that they conducted on the home of the owner of La Cabaña Restaurant and Bar resulted in a major shootout between them and the occupants of the house.

The police claimed that they responded with gunfire after the occupants of the home, Mike Menjivar, 34, Iliana Chacon, 29, and Rumilda Perez, 41, opened fire at them. The accused, however, deny the police report and have since told the media that the GSU team came in over their fence, shooting their dogs and their home without any indication that they were the police, so they acted in self-defense by shooting back.

Menjivar, Chacon and Perez have since been arraigned in the Belmopan Magistrate’s Court and jointly charged with (9) counts of attempted murder and (9) counts of aggravated assault. Menjivar was additionally charged with (1) count of damage to property. The three were not allowed to plea in court because the charges are indictable and they were all remanded to the Belize Central Prison. They are to reappear in court on June 22, 2011.

Commander of the GSU, Marco Vidal, told us during an interview today that the total amount of shots fired by the GSU was 41, while 11 shots came from inside of the house. 


Vidal told us that the purpose of the raid was to search for controlled drugs and illegal firearms; however none of that was found, only $19,000 total in various denominations in a safe located inside a walk-in closet.

Apart from the three adults - Menjivar and his common-law wife Iliana Chacon, and Perez, their maid -their three children, ages 10, 11 and 13, were also inside the home at the time of the shooting. When Amandala visited the home, blood, which we were told came from the two dogs that were shot and killed at the time of the raid, “greeted” us at the entrance of the yard.

A look inside the home revealed how easily the incident could have become even more nightmarish, possibly tragic, for the children who, helped by the maid, reportedly took cover in the laundry room after all of their windows and room walls had been perforated with bullet holes. It was in this same location that the GSU found the maid and the children, one of whom is reportedly an epileptic who had been sleeping at the time of the raid.

Remarkably, no one lost their lives that morning. 

The police sent out a press release early Friday, May 20, 2011, detailing the operation: “On Friday, May 20, 2011, members of the Gang Suppression Unit arrived at the residence of Mike Menjivar, owner of Bar La Cabaña.  The personnel identified themselves as police officers and informed the occupants of the house that they had a search warrant to execute.

Instead of opening the door, the occupants began doing a lot of shuffling and shortly after, a barrage of shots were unleashed directly at the officers standing outside, waiting to be let in. The officers then took cover behind the police vehicle, where the firing at them continued, causing damages to the pickup truck”.  

Police did not explain how, if they were standing outside the door and were being shot at from that close range, none of them died, or were even injured.


We spoke with Chacon’s brother, Jose Chacon, who gave a very different account of the incident, and added that they have records to support the scenario that he described. He said that his sister did not know the identities of the individuals who were unloading bullets on their home, so she called the police at 822-2222. “And there is a record of that...”, he said, adding that “she was pleading for assistance, because she thought that she was being robbed.”he saidadding that.”


Chacon said that his sister and Menjivar did not realize that it was the police “because none of the vehicles that were used were marked police or had any lights like the siren lights, so there was no clear indication to tell you that it was police”.


Chacon further explained that this entire incident could have been avoided: “I don’t think they would have reacted in such manner of self-defense or shooting, knowing that there was police; there was nothing found in the house so there was no justification to say oh, they were firing first because they were hiding anything.

I think this is not the way you carry out a raid. They could have found better ways of doing it. I think they took the wrong approach. If they indeed had a search warrant, it has never been presented to my family or to the attorney as yet”.

Reports are that Menjivar’s family are also claiming that he was beaten severely, and suffered a broken jaw, as well as various bruises and cuts, as a result. Chacon said that, prior to the shootout, Menjivar had just returned from Guatemala, where he had had a medical checkup as follow-up to a surgery he had undergone after being injured in a motorcycle accident.  

According to Vidal, however, the claim of self-defense by the accused and their family is just “plain garbage.” He told us that the officers had arrived in two separate unmarked police vehicles with siren lights; the officers, we were told, were not masked.

Vidal also told us that his officers had followed procedures and several attempts were made to communicate with the persons inside the house. Vidal explained that the officers announced themselves on more than one occasion, but were greeted with gunfire while they were waiting outside the house for the occupants to open the door. “Certainly what they are saying is totally false. Police officers approached the door, knocked at the door and identified themselves as police officers. When there was no response, they continued to knock on the door and informed the occupants that it was police; again, there was no response,” said Vidal.

Vidal also maintained that the dogs were not killed by his officers, but rather by the gunfire coming from their owners.


Vidal lastly insisted to us that the family was shown the warrant for the execution of their search.


#408841 - 05/28/11 11:24 AM Re: GSU goes ballistic in Belmopan [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline
From Ray Auxillou, Western Belize Happenings....

The local cable TV media in Belize are doing well in raising questions through phone in surveys on the attitudes of the voting public to the managment of our government. I get most of my information from the weekend newspapers and the cable TV local media.

The early night morning GSU commando attack on the residential house in Belmopan the Capital is a strange one. From the media reports it is puzzling trying to figure out the rational and TIMING behind it. That the Police got a TIP doesnīt cut it. Though that TIP is likely to come out in court. One can only be thankful that nobody on either side were either killed, or injured. None of it makes any sense. Perhaps the house search does, but why not do it at a more sensible time, as in daylight? The whole thing was just begging for trouble. The GSU was not properly prepared. They were prepared from the viewpoint of attacking a wooden plywood shanty house in Belize City the port, but this operation seemed to be out of their class in the capital of the country in modern Belmopan. If they have protocols and training as they claim, then these protocols are seriously flawed. Especially the lack of intelligence and preparation.

One can only think three things and it will be interesting to see what the TV media investigative reporters uncover.

a) That the so called mysterious TIP, was bogus and an act of jealousy and envy of someone about a successful businessman. Nothing was discovered.

b) That the raid was political and the GSU was used to strike FEAR and TERROR in the businessmanīs family minds. The only reason for this could be that the businessman supports a rival political party in Belmopan? The intent to make him fedup and flee the country and go into exile, like George Price used to do with his bully boys, like Ray Lightburn and his cronies, sent to beat up political opposition, or anybody daring to criticize George Priceīs actions, or PUP political party regime. George drove many Belizeans to flee into exile abroad and had no tolerance for debate on issues of governance and the day.

c) The last reason is something similar and in this view, somebody in politics wanted to take over the CLUB as a successful business and so drive the owner and pioneer into exile abroad. They would have had enough political clout, ( a relative usually of a sitting Cabinet Minister ) to influence the use of the POLICE and GSU as unwitting pseudo bully boys, to accomplish this purpose. I witnessed OFTEN during the George Price era of PUP rule, people picked out by police stooges from the Central Station in the port Belize City and attacked on flimsy excuse by police bully boys and subsequently beaten and kicked on the pavements of the port Belize City. The denial of permits and licenses to conduct businesses was also a common political tool, to drive political opposition into exile. Much the same what we read about in Venezuela these days.

There is the possibility the man was a CROOK as bandied about, but I donīt know the man and it doesnīt seem to fit the media follow up, investigative reporting being reported on cable TV.

Either way, it is disquieting that such violence and unpreparedness is becoming glaringly common. The USA Embassy has just donated $80,000 worth of police paraphelia to enable them to do their jobs better in what is perceived to be a worsening crime climate. This last week of murder and mayham, seems to have been all PASSION CRIMES, vengeance, or disagreements among people in the marijuana trade. No HITS this past week, as in organized crime. There does now seem a new era of political corruption taking place and growing, which could cost the UDP the next election if any third party were capable of mounting a National campaign.


Got Doug Singh on WAVE TV. Interesting review of what is happening in the Police Department and he explains it well. Kudos to him. Didnīt know he was the Minister of Police, wasntīeven aware he ran for public office? Thought he was a Police CEO or something else Gave a good understanding of the capabilities of the police.

I did disagree with him vehemently about the GSU raid in Belmopan on a private residence, to do a common routine, warrantless search at 4 a.m. He is claiming the GSU were in their legal rights as they knocked first and announced they were police.
There is no way in hell, I am going to open my front door to someone banging on it in the middle of the night, at 4 a.m,. groggy from being woken up, claiming to be the police, the Queen of England, or Prime Minister Dean Barrow. Way to dangerous in this country of Belize. A voice and banging on the door in the middle of the night. No way Jose! Too little information and the hour and time, extremely criminally suspect.
In the Belmopan case, when the Belmopan Police department tell you it is not their police, even worse.
I take serious offense that ANYONE could be banging on my front door in the middle of the night, as we are fenced and padlocked gates, front and back. Whoever was claiming to be POLICE had to have done breaking and entering and trespass, to get through my gates and fence and watch dogs. What I would have done is when people shout from outside my gate in the evenings, is go down to the corner window of my home, and open it and look outside to see what bloody drunk, or thief is messing around with me, by the front door. It happens occasionally, but outside my front gate. Only then, after confirming for instance, it was by their attire a GSU unit, would I return back to the front door, after shouting I was coming. Usually in such instances, it is some kid wanting to borrow my tire pump, to blow up a football. According to Singh, that would have been too late. They would have smashed in my expensive front door by that time. Bullshit baby! Change your protocols. Have an electronic bullhorn, flashing police lights on a vehicle, spotlights on the windows, something other than a disembodied voice claiming to be the POLICE. Especially as to get to my front door, you already did serious damage to my property in the middle of the night.
The other thing in Belmopan, the local division police superintendent didnīt know? That raises red flags of warning right there. So change your protocols again. Notify your district despatchers, keep them in the LOOP.
Far as I understand the GSU MISSION STATEMENT is for gang suppression. Most of the gangs are in the port town. You might have some minor groups of 2 or 3 youths in Roaring Creek, Camalote, Esperenza, Santa Elena Town and San Ignacio Town. Not sure if they would qualify as part of the MISSION STATEMENT for the GSU. It is obvious POLICE HIGH COMMAND are misusing the GSU. They are treating them like a SWAT TEAM. A SWAT TEAM is a different kettle of fish, and would be and could be used nationally under correct protocles. Not so the GSU, that had been sent improperly, to do an ordinary house search in another district and police division. That protocol doesnīt make any sense to the public.
There should have been flashing rotating police lights and an electronic bull horn, spotlights on the windows, in the Belmopan situation. Kudos to the man resisting a HOME INVASION, by unknown persons. The Belmopan Police despatcher should have known also. Admit your mistake Singh and let that family out of jail and drop the charges. Apologize and lets go forward with corrected protocols. You sound like you could do it. Do it!

Ran across one local cable TV station, in which high school students were playing steel band music. They were so proud and good. Brought tears to my eyes. When you compare those kids against the young sociopaths doing murders, it is the difference between night and day.

Saw the bus man, forget his name, Minister now - getting old- memory going. Rambling as usual on a TV interview. Watched it for a while, but couldnt make much sense out of his meanderings, so turned him off. ( Ahhh! I remember now, Melvin Hulse )

Edited by Marty (05/30/11 11:59 AM)

#409431 - 06/07/11 10:39 AM Re: GSU goes ballistic in Belmopan [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline
from Ray Auxillou of WesternBelizeHappengs....

According to the cable television media, members of the GSU went on an alcohol induced rampage over the weekend, and also raided a house without their superior team leader, Lt Vidal.

Donīt envy Doug Singh, he is going to have to replace some police officers turned criminals. Would guess he isnīt prepared to replace GSU team members on such short notice? Since physcologically unstable GSU members are a threat to the finances of the government of Belize, and orderly practice of the security system, because of lawsuits, he should make it short and sweet.


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