Portofino Resort- Now with a new BEACH BAR!!
Topic Options
#418396 - 10/11/11 09:39 AM Mexican drug cartels reach into tiny Belize
Marty Online   happy

Elite troops from the Belize Special Assignment Group on patrol near the Guatemala-Belize border.

BELIZE CITY, Belize — The sleepy port towns, mangrove swamps and jungle airstrips of poorly defended, tiny Belize are becoming prime gateways for drug trafficking as Mexico’s billionaire mafias carve out new smuggling routes through Central America.

Using light aircraft and ultra-fast boats, traffickers are moving more and more South American cocaine through Belize into Mexico, U.S. narcotics agents and Belizean officials say.

By landing their lucrative cargo in Belize, the traffickers avoid detection by beefed-up Mexican army and navy patrols, marking the latest advance by the Mexican cartels into Central America’s impoverished, weak states, through which as much as 90 percent of the cocaine that reaches the United States now passes, according to U.S. assessments.

Belize’s growing role as a smuggling corridor prompted the Obama administration to add it to the annual “black list” of countries considered major drug producers or transit routes for narcotics. The 22-state list, announced last month, now includes every nation in Central America, a sign that more and more territory is coming under the influence of the cartels.

U.S. officials estimate that about 10 metric tons of cocaine are smuggled along Belize’s Caribbean coast each year en route to American consumers, the world’s most voracious illicit drug users. Additional loads arrive on flights from Colombia and Venezuela, landing on Belize’s farm roads and highways, where the shipments can be quickly unpacked, broken down into smaller bundles and ferried across the Rio Hondo into southern Mexico.

“We’re part of the funnel,” Police Minister Douglas Singh said in an interview here. “Mexico is above us, and Guatemala and Belize are part of the funnel you have to go through to get to Mexico. That’s making a lot of legitimate and illegitimate businessmen here prosper. But it makes us very vulnerable.”

With just 320,000 people, this country the size of Massachusetts has a long coastline and a rugged geography that appeals to hammock-swinging tourists and drug traffickers alike. Its security forces are tiny and ill-equipped.

Since 2008, the Belizean government has received about $15 million in U.S. security assistance, including boats and other vehicles, communications gear and training programs, part of the nearly $2 billion in counter-narcotics aid that the United States has provided or pledged to Mexico and Central America.

But Belize remains a pushover for the powerful drug barons. The country does not have a radar system that can track unauthorized flights. Its military lacks helicopters, let alone other basic hardware. Belizean police don’t even have the ability to intercept cellphone communications.

“They’re lucky if they’ve got gas to put in their cars to go out and do stuff,” said one senior U.S. law enforcement official working in the region, speaking on the condition of anonymity per security protocols.

Escalating gang violence

Belize has been spared the kind of broader mayhem raging across Mexico, Honduras and in next-door Guatemala, where Mexican cartels have laid siege to large swaths of territory and carried out terrifying attacks.

But escalating gang violence in Belize City has put the country’s homicide count on pace for an all-time high, with more than 100 killings so far in 2011. Belize’s per capita homicide rate was even higher than Guatemala’s last year, and the fifth-highest in the hemisphere, according to U.N. data. Police believe the bloodletting is driven partly by the abundance of cocaine on the streets, as foreign traffickers pay their local contacts in raw product, rather than cash.

Already there are signs the country’s security forces have been co-opted. Last November, Belizean officials working with DEA agents seized 2.6 metric tons of cocaine after a twin-engine Beechcraft Super King Air 200 clipped its wing while landing on the country’s southern highway. Crooked police had blocked traffic and laid out lanterns to mark a midnight runway, according to investigators. It was the largest drug seizure in the country’s history, worth $131 million — equal to nearly 10 percent of Belize’s annual GDP.

Formerly known as British Honduras, Belize is Central America’s youngest and only English-speaking nation. It has enjoyed peaceful, democratic rule since gaining independence in 1981, but U.S. officials worry those gains will erode if cartel operatives continue to burrow their way into the country by buying off political and business elites.

The country also faces an unemployment time bomb, with 50 percent of its population under the age of 20, according to Vinai Thummalapally, the U.S. ambassador to Belize. “Poverty and the lack of opportunities for young men here are a major concern,” he said.

U.S. officials say they do not believe the drug syndicates have established a significant physical presence in Belizean territory, but Singh, Belize’s top police official, said Mexican businessmen believed to be working for Mexico’s Gulf and Sinaloa cartels have recently been detected in the country.

The language difference is no obstacle to the Mexican traffickers, authorities say, because waves of Spanish-speaking migrants from El Salvador and Guatemala have settled in Belize’s northern and western districts — areas that are now trafficking hotspots.

In October 2010, Otoniel Turcios, a Guatemalan trafficker with ties to Mexico’s Zetas drug cartel, was arrested in the town of San Ignacio in western Belize, then put on a DEA flight to New York to face federal drug trafficking charges.

Elsewhere around Belize, there are signs of a booming narcotics trade.

In the northern Orange Walk district, an agricultural area known for sugar cane, citrus, and large farms run by prosperous German-speaking Mennonites, Belizean officials say drug flights have been landing under cover of darkness near the Mexican border. Belize’s deputy military commander, Col. Javier Castellanos, said rogue members of the otherwise-lawful Mennonite community appear to be working for the traffickers, smoothing out illegal airstrips that were destroyed by the army.

Farther north, in the port town of Corozal, just south of Mexico, a former dockworker said he has personally helped unload multiple boatloads of cocaine in the past year, including one shipment he estimated at $40 million.

And in Caye Caulker, an island resort famous for its sand streets and laid-back Caribbean lifestyle, residents say fast boats can be heard racing up the coast in the middle of the night several times a week. At dawn, beachcombers search the water’s edge for washed up treasure — shrink-wrapped packages of uncut cocaine.

Tensions with Guatemala

Tensions have been especially high along Belize’s disputed border with Guatemala, where Guatemalan squatters have long been clearing patches of protected Belizean forest to plant corn and beans. Only now, the farmers are growing marijuana, under protection — or orders — from the Zetas drug cartel, according to the Belizean military officers who patrol the area.

“They carve messages for us in the trees with machetes that say, ‘We are watching you,’ signed with a ‘Z,’ ” said Capt. Ian Cunha, commander of a unit that exchanged fire with two alleged cartel gunmen in August, wounding one of the attackers.

“These guys used to be poor farmers, but now they’ve got AK-47s and brand-new dirt bikes,” he said.

Belizean officers said their remote surveillance stations have also spotted light aircraft landing near the Guatemala border, but one commander said he didn’t believe his superiors were interested in truly challenging the traffickers — either because they were paid off or intimidated.

“I personally think we are in a phase of facilitating the cartels,” said the officer, whose requested his identity be withheld to avoid retaliation. “We do not actively support them, but we don’t stop them, either.”

“It’s shortsighted,” he said. “We may get money now, but we’ll be dead tomorrow.”

Belize: Drug-smuggling route to Mexico

Illegal flights from Colombia and Venezuela are landing along farm roads and airstrips in northern Belize, where drug shipments can be easily ferried across the Rio Hondo and into Mexico.


Correspondent William Booth in Mexico City contributed to this story.

This report was supported by the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.

Washington Post


Growing Drug Cartel influence in Belize! 10 metric tons of cocaine passing through. -Wall Street Journal reports

An article this week in the Wall Street Journal reports that the influence of Mexican drug cartels in Belize is growing and that jungle airstrips are in use to facilitate the growing drug trade with the United States.

“Using light aircraft and ultra-fast boats, traffickers are moving more and more South American cocaine through Belize into Mexico”, the report says.

“By landing their lucrative cargo in Belize, the traffickers avoid detection by beefed-up Mexican army and navy patrols, marking the latest advance by the Mexican cartels into Central America’s impoverished, weak states, through which as much as 90 percent of the cocaine that reaches the United States now passes,” the report says quoting U.S. sources.

The story in the Wall Street Journal was written by journalist Nick Miroff, and carries a Belize City by-line, suggesting that the reporter was in Belize when he wrote the story.

He quoted U.S. sources which estimate that 90 percent of the cocaine that reaches the United States today passes through Belize, either overland or by sea routes. Belize’s Minister of Police, Mr. Douglas Singh, seems to agree. He is quoted as saying:

“We’re part of the funnel,” Police Minister Douglas Singh said in an interview.

“Mexico is above us, and Guatemala and Belize are part of the funnel you have to go through to get to Mexico. That’s making a lot of legitimate and illegitimate businessmen here prosper. But it makes us very vulnerable”.

Belize’s growing role as a smuggling corridor has prompted the Obama administration to add Belize to the annual “black list” of countries considered major drug producers or transit routes for narcotics.

The list, made public last month, includes every nation in Central America, a sign that more and more territory is coming under the influence of the cartels run by Mexico billionaire mafias.

U.S. officials estimate that about 10 metric tons of cocaine are smuggled along Belize’s Caribbean coast each year en route to American consumers.

How do the drugs arrive in Belize and how is it transported to the United States?

“Additional loads arrive on flights from Colombia and Venezuela, landing on Belize’s farm roads and highways, where the shipments can be quickly unpacked, broken down into smaller bundles and ferried across the Rio Hondo into southern Mexico”, the report says.

“With just 320,000 people, this country the size of Massachusetts has a long coastline and a rugged geography. Its security forces are tiny and ill-equipped.

“Since 2008, the Belizean government has received about $15 million in U.S. security assistance, including boats and other vehicles, communications gear and training programs, part of the nearly $2 billion in counter-narcotics initiative that the United States has provided or pledged to Mexico and Central America.

“But Belize remains a pushover for the powerful drug barons. The country does not have a radar system that can track unauthorized flights. Its military lacks helicopters, let alone other basic hardware. Belizean police don’t even have the ability to intercept cellphone communications!

“They’re lucky if they’ve got gas to put in their cars to go out and do stuff,” said one senior U.S. law enforcement official working in the region, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

In Mexico, Honduras and next-door Guatemala, Mexican cartels have laid siege to large swaths of territory and carried out terrifying attacks. Belize has been spared this kind of aggression, but Miroff notes that “escalating gang violence in Belize City has put the country’s homicide count on pace for an all-time high, with more than 100 killings so far in 2011.

“Belize’s per capita homicide rate was even higher than Guatemala’s last year, and the fifth-highest in the hemisphere,” according to U.N. data.

Police believe the bloodletting is driven partly by the abundance of cocaine on the streets, as foreign traffickers pay their local contacts in raw product, rather than cash.

Already there are signs the country’s security forces have been co-opted.

Last November, Beli-zean officials working with DEA agents seized 2.6 metric tons of cocaine after a twin-engine Beechcraft Super King Air 200 clipped its wing while landing on the country’s southern highway.

“Crooked police had blocked traffic and laid out lanterns to mark a midnight runway, according to investigators. It was the largest drug seizure in the country’s history, worth $131 million — equal to nearly 10 percent of Belize’s annual GDP.

Formerly known as British Honduras, Belize is Central America’s youngest and only English-speaking nation.

Belize has enjoyed peaceful, democratic rule since gaining independence in 1981, but U.S. officials worry those gains will erode if cartel operatives continue to burrow their way into the country by buying off political and business elites.

“The country also faces an unemployment time bomb, with 50 percent of its population under the age of 20, according to Vinai Thummalapally, the U.S. Ambassador to Belize.

“Poverty and the lack of opportunities for young men here are major concerns,” Thummapapally has been quoted as saying.

U.S. officials say they do not believe the drug syndicates have established a significant physical presence in Belizean territory, but Douglas Singh, Belize’s top police official, said Mexican businessmen, believed to be working for Mexico’s Gulf and Sinaloa cartels, have recently been detected in the country.

Belize’s northern and western districts, Corozal, Orange Walk and Cayo are now the areas that have become trafficking hotspots.

In October last year Otoniel Turcios, a Guatemalan trafficker with ties to Mexico’s Zetas drug cartel, was arrested in the town of San Ignacio in western Belize, then put on a DEA flight to New York to face federal drug trafficking charges.

Elsewhere around Belize, there are signs of a booming narcotics trade.

In the northern Orange Walk district, an agricultural area known for sugar cane, citrus, and large farms run by prosperous German-speaking Mennonites, Belizean officials say drug flights have been landing under the cover of darkness near the Mexican border.

Belize’s deputy military commander, Col. Javier Castellanos, said rogue members of the otherwise-lawful Mennonite community appear to be working for the traffickers, smoothing out illegal airstrips that were destroyed by the BDF.

Further north, in the port town of Corozal, just south of Mexico, a former dockworker said he has personally helped unload multiple boatloads of cocaine in the past year, including one shipment he estimated at $40 million.

“In Caye Caulker, Miroff reports, residents say fast boats can be heard racing up the coast in the middle of the night several times a week. At dawn, beachcombers search the water’s edge for washed up treasure — shrink-wrapped packages of uncut cocaine.

Tensions have been especially high along Belize’s disputed border with Guatemala, where Guatemalan squatters have long been clearing patches of protected Belizean forest to plant corn and beans.

But now, the farmers are growing marijuana, under protection — or orders — from the Zetas drug cartel, according to Belizean military officers who patrol the area.

“They carve messages for us in the trees with machetes that say, ‘We are watching you,’ signed with a ‘Z,’ ” Capt. Ian Cunha, commander of a unit that exchanged fire with two alleged cartel gunmen in August, disclosed.

“These guys used to be poor farmers, but now they’ve got AK-47s and brand-new dirt bikes,” he said.

Belizean officers said their remote surveillance stations have also spotted light aircraft landing near the Guatemala border, but one commander said he didn’t believe his superiors were interested in truly challenging the traffickers — either because they were paid off or intimidated.

“I personally think we are in a phase of facilitating the cartels,” said the officer, who had requested anonymity to avoid retaliation.

“We do not actively support them, but we don’t stop them, either.”

He went on to say: “We may get money now, but we’ll be dead tomorrow.”

This report was written for the Wall Street Journal by Nick Miroff

Correspondent William Booth in Mexico City contributed also to this story.

This report was supported by the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.

The Reporter


Top
#418444 - 10/11/11 02:40 PM Re: Mexican drug cartels reach into tiny Belize [Re: Marty]
Bear Offline
I've been following this story for about a year and this is the first time anyone in the US press has actually included anecdotal evidence of trafficing through and activites within Belize. It was even missing in US DEA and State Department release. Plenty of mention of Hondauras and Guatelmala but other than the name nothing on Bleize.I always found that curious; a willingness to add a country to a blacklist but no reasoning or examples why. I mean this all doesnt surprise me, just that more of these kinds of stories havent been mentioned earlier.

Top
#418468 - 10/11/11 10:50 PM Re: Mexican drug cartels reach into tiny Belize [Re: Marty]
Diane Campbell Offline
Today there was a provocative post (elsewhere) by "bad" Peter on this topic.
Advise a quick read.


Top
#418473 - 10/12/11 05:26 AM Re: Mexican drug cartels reach into tiny Belize [Re: Diane Campbell]
ragman Offline
To the best of my knowledge there has never been any serious discussion in the USA about legalizing hard drugs only maybe weed so Peter's article is not in any way going to happen. At least not in the next 10 years or so, if at all. If weed was legalized the problem with hard drugs would remain.
_________________________
Jim
Somewhere on a beach where the climate suits me just fine. wink

Top
#418731 - 10/14/11 08:58 AM Re: Mexican drug cartels reach into tiny Belize [Re: Marty]
Marty Online   happy
from a friend....

Washington's negative "news" articles on Belize are taunting the cartels, why?
prime example:

http://www.theatlantic.com/international...he-best/245834/

and it goes downhill with the washinton post, the establishment's paper, series all this week ...that includes even a video.

This is some really sick s+it. But its the price the citizenry will be made to pay for its govt decision to commit voting for Palestinian Statehood (a vote that never too place) at UNGA 2011 in NYC.

===========

Comments....

I am back and just catching up on some articles. Looks like the Post has been trooping around Belize. I think this Atlantic piece doesn't go into the old territorial issues enough and over emphasizes the drug aspect. However, you should know by now that Washington is fixated on drugs.

At any rate, once you grab an issue, you certainly like to pump it to the Max. I don't think the Palestinian issue is a factor at any level in all this. With all the other stuff going on these days it's just not a big deal. And the recently announced Hamas-Israeli swaps have totally changed the landscape now anyway. You really seem hung up on Israel/Palestine.

=============

I've been there and know how the game is played.

And it will get worse.

==================

Here's something interesting...

International Narcotics Control Strategy Report Belize

A. Introduction

Belize is vulnerable to the transshipment of illicit drugs due to its position along the Central American isthmus between the South American drug producing countries and Mexico. It has long stretches of unmanned, unpopulated forests on its borders with Guatemala and Mexico, and an unpatrolled coastline that includes hundreds of small cayes (islands) and atolls. Belize's population density is the lowest in Central America and its remote jungles make it a hospitable environmentfor growing marijuana. Narcotics trafficking is creating a citizen safety challenge for the Government of Belize.

Belize has a cultural tolerance for the use of marijuana. Drug possession penalties are generally small and rarely include jail time. Penalties for drug trafficking, however, include both fines and significant prison sentences, and bail could be denied if the amounts trafficked meet specific requirements. Crack cocaine is the second most abused drug in Belize according to a 2008 Central American Integration System (SICA) study. There is no evidence that synthetic drugs are being used or manufactured in Belize, though large quantities of precursor chemicals transit Belize en-route to Mexico.

Despite enhanced efforts to monitor coastal waters, the Belize National Coast Guard (BNCG) and the Anti-Drug Unit (ADU) are hampered bylimited funds, equipment, and lack of personnel. Deficiencies in intelligence gathering, analysis, and sharing are also major impedimentsto reducing the flow of narcotics through Belize. A lack of political will and corruption contribute to minimizing the effectiveness of the Government of Belize (GOB) efforts against traffickers.

Belize is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.

B. Drug Control Accomplishments/Policies and Trends

1. Institutional Development

While there were several drug seizures early in the year, focus onthe narcotics problem diminished as the GOB was forced to address a murder rate that is spiraling out of control. 2008 saw the highest number of murders in Belize's history, at 103. By October 2010, Belize had already exceeded this number, despite deploying the military to the streets of Belize City to try to control the violence. The murder total for 2010 was 128, which represents a per capita murder rate just below 40 per 100,000 citizens. Most of these murders are gang-related and many are related to narcotics.

In 2010, the GOB took several legislative steps to address the deteriorating law and order situation. The Criminal Code (Amendment) Bill, which is in the process of being redrafted, calls for an increase in penalties for crimes such as attempted murder, rape, carnal knowledge, and other offenses of a violent or sexual nature. The Crime Control and Criminal Justice (Amendment), which passed, is aimed directlyat increasing penalties for gang-related crime. The Firearms (Amendment) Bill, which calls for an increase of penalties for firearms offenses, remains under review in the house. The most controversial pieceof new legislation was the Interception of Communications Bill, which passed by the National Assembly, but remains under review. This bill allows police to seek a Supreme Court warrant which when issued allows the police to wiretap telephone and other communications of the individuals specified in the warrant.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is working with theGOB to draft a statutory instrument that would criminalize trafficking in all precursor chemicals and will complement a 2009 statutory instrument criminalizing trafficking in pseudoephedrine.

Belize is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotics Drugs, as amended by the 1972 Protocol, and the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances. Belize is one of six countries that have ratified the Caribbean Regional Agreement on Maritime Counter Narcotics. In September 1997, the GOB signed the National Crime Information Center Pilot Project Assessment Agreement (data- and information-sharing). While Belize passed the Money Laundering and Terrorism (Prevention) Act in 2008, establishing money launderingas an autonomous offense, it has failed to accede to the Inter-American Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters, 1992. The Organization of American States' Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD) has urged it to do so for the past ten years.

Belize became a member state of the Inter-American Observatory on Drugs (OID) in May 2009, and CICAD provided training for its nationalproject coordinator. The CICAD representatives also assisted GOB personnel in mapping out an action plan to begin implementation of a national drug information system, which will share data with CICAD on the demand, use, and supply of drugs in Belize.

Bilateral agreements between the United States and Belize include a protocol to the Maritime Agreement that entered into force in April2000, a bilateral Extradition Treaty that entered into force in March 2001, and the Inter-American Convention on Serving Criminal Sentences Abroad that entered into force in 2005. The U.S.--Belize Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) entered into force in 2003. While GOB assistance in the capture and repatriation of U.S. citizen fugitives isexcellent (11 fugitives returned from January-November 2010), responses to formal U. S. extradition requests for Belizean nationals are frustratingly slow due to limited criminal justice system resources and a system lacking judicial incentives to promote speedy trials. Belize is a party to the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its protocols on trafficking in persons and migrant smuggling. In 2005, Belize joined other Central American countries participating in the Cooperating Nations Information Exchange System (CNIES), which assists in locating, identifying, tracking, and intercepting civil aircraft in Belize's airspace.

2. Supply Reduction

The Belize Police Department's (BPD) well-equipped and trained Belize Anti-Drug Unit (ADU) maintains its base in Belize City. Belize uses the ADU as a quick response force to the spiraling violence in thecity. However, the unit is often unable to respond in a timely manner to inbound air tracks in remote locations across the country as allof their assets are deployed in Belize City.

In 2010, Belize seized 97 metric tons (MT) of marijuana. In 2009, the GOB seized 291.5 kilograms (kg) of marijuana. However, there is no real comparison between the two years because, in 2010, seized marijuana was combined with eradicated marijuana for statistical purposes. The eradicated marijuana was destroyed on site. Also in 2010, Belize seized over 2.6 MT of cocaine compared to 28.3 kg in 2009. The jumpin cocaine seizures can be largely attributed to a November 2010 bi-lateral operation with DEA, where 2,607 kg of cocaine were seized along with one aircraft, one go-fast vessel, and the arrests of five corrupt law enforcement officers that assisted in offloading the cocaine. This was the largest cocaine seizure recorded in Belize.

The GOB also seized 1.2 kg of heroin, and 122,000 dosage units of pseudoephedrine. Forty tons of the precursor chemical phenyl-acetic acid (PAA) were seized by Belize Customs officials in 2010, although these seizures did not result in arrests. Some of the PAA was returnedto the sender since it is not yet illegal in Belize.

In October 2010 the GOB assisted the DEA in the return of a DEA Fugitive/ Guatemalan national wanted in the U.S. for allegedly trafficking thousands of kilograms of cocaine. In an April, 2010 incident, anaircraft suspected of carrying large quantities of cocaine crashed into the sea near a runway on a remote caye. The pilot was found shot dead and the plane was empty.

In 2010, the BNCG received two interceptor vessels from the U. S. Department of Defense (DOD) to use to patrol Belize's territorial waters; two go-fast boats were handed over to the Belize Defense Force in 2009. While these vessels are used to patrol, they have not contributed to any successful interceptions of narcotics. The lack of a coastal radar system that can track vessels transiting Belizean waters hampers marine efforts.

The conviction rate in Belize courts is extremely low. While figures are not readily available, it is suspected to be below 5 percent, and lower for serious offenses. There were no successful prosecutionsrelated to large seizures of illicit drugs in 2010, though at least three cases from 2010 are still pending before the court at year's end. It is difficult to obtain convictions, including on drug-related crimes, because the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) lacks the staff and resources necessary to devote to each case. Police prosecutors, who are responsible for the prosecution of minor offenses, lack formal legal training, which often results in cases beingoverturned on technicalities. The widespread issue of victim and witness intimidation and lack of forensic capabilities are also key deterrents to successful prosecutions.

3. Drug Abuse awareness, Demand Reduction, and Treatment

The National Drug Abuse Control Council (NDACC) is the central coordinating authority responsible for the activities of demand reduction, supply reduction, control measures and provision of information tothe public. NDACC falls under the Ministry of Health. The Council has 21 regular employees and four U.S. Peace Corps volunteers, and had a budget of BZ$350,000 (U.S. $175,000) for 2010-2011. The budget has been steadily increasing and the Director estimates the 2011-2012 budget will be BZ$750,000 (U.S. $375,000), an indication that the GOB isplacing increasing importance on this issue. NDACC also is updating its National Anti-Drug Strategy, a three-year plan which will cover 2011-2014. The Belize Central Prison, managed by a non-governmental organization called the Kolbe Foundation, runs the only drug rehabilitation program in Belize. The program, which began in 2006, runs in ninety-day increments and is a residence program available to the inmates and members of the public willing to stay at the prison to overcomeaddiction. There are no national demand-reduction education programsin schools or for school-aged children.

4. Corruption

As a matter of policy, the GOB does not encourage or facilitate the illicit production or distribution of narcotic or psychotropic drugs or other controlled substances, or the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions. However, a lack of resources, weak law enforcement, and inadequate compensation allows these activities to continue at all levels of government within Belize, and is a significant impediment to strengthening law enforcement efforts against transnational crime. Belize has no laws that specifically deal with narcotics-related corruption. Its Prevention of Corruption Law deals mainly with corruption in public office related to public gain, use of public funds and code of conduct. Belize is the only country in Central America that is not a party to the UN Convention against Corruption. The tribunal against four officers from the Belizean Coast Guard, charged last year in connection with a Coast Guard vessel stolen from the station where it was docked, concluded in August 2010. Three of the officers were found not guilty. However the Patrol Commander was found guilty of negligence and was demoted in rank by the Security Services Commission. All officers remain posted with the BNCG.

C. National Goals, Bilateral Cooperation, and U.S. Policy Initiatives

The United States supported Belize's efforts to combat transnational crime and narcotics trafficking by providing training, equipment, and technical assistance. The State Department's Central America Regional Security Initiative (CARSI) seeks to work with the GOB to stop the flow of narcotics, weapons, and bulk cash generated by illicit drug sales, and to confront gangs and criminal organizations. The support provided in 2010, through the Department of State, DEA, and the Department of Defense (DOD) modernized and enhanced law enforcement capacity, improved prison management, and assisted anti-gang initiatives.DOD through Post's Military Liaison Office (MLO) provides training to the BDF along with infrastructure improvements and equipment to boost counternarcotics capability. USG agencies operating in Belize workwith the GOB to improve the capacity of law enforcement, security forces, and judicial system officials, in order to prevent the entry ofillicit drugs, and spread of violence, and transnational threats in Belize. The U.S. Coast Guard provided the BNCG with resident, mobile and on-the-job training in maritime law enforcement, engineering and maintenance, leadership and management, port security, and incident command system. This training helps to improve their capability to deny DTOs access to the littorals. The State Department and DOD also areworking jointly with the governments of Belize, Mexico, and Guatemala to develop a strategy to strengthen security along their shared borders, in order to inhibit the trafficking of illicit substances. The USG also provides support to the Belize National Forensic Science Service to improve investigations and prosecution of crimes by providinga bullet catcher and providing internships for two Firearms Examiners with U.S. state and federal forensic laboratories.

D. Conclusion

As the crime situation in Belize continues to deteriorate, Belize faces an ever more challenging battle against the threats of narcotics trafficking and gangs that permeate the region. Signs indicate thatnarcotics trafficking is increasing in Belize, and will continue this upward trend, putting even more pressure on Belize to protect its borders. It is vital that the GOB show the will to increase its efforts, through policy, resource allocation, and operations, to halt the flow of illegal drugs and drug money within and across its borders. The GOB must place more emphasis on institution-building, particularly for law enforcement and security forces, in order to build the capacity of these organizations and to increase their effectiveness. The GOB also could enhance its drug control efforts by adequately funding and training prosecutors in the DPP's office, as well as police prosecutors, in narcotics prosecutions. At the same time, Belize is encouraged to pass a Chemical Precursors Control Act with punitive sanctions. The USG will continue to partner with the GOB in its efforts to prevent traffickers from using Belize as a transit location.

Top
#418797 - 10/14/11 02:34 PM Re: Mexican drug cartels reach into tiny Belize [Re: Marty]
Barbara K Offline
It was in the NY Times as well
_________________________
www.barbsbelize.com

Top
#418816 - 10/14/11 04:25 PM Re: Mexican drug cartels reach into tiny Belize [Re: ragman]
Bear Offline
Originally Posted By: ragman
To the best of my knowledge there has never been any serious discussion in the USA about legalizing hard drugs only maybe weed so Peter's article is not in any way going to happen. At least not in the next 10 years or so, if at all. If weed was legalized the problem with hard drugs would remain.


I agree, it will. Right now in my home county we are dealing with Mexican cartel action growing weed in the hills and wildlands above our vineyards. Guns, shootouts with law enforcement and deaths are all acknowldeged and documented history in this game, but it's not even the endgame nowadays. The cash from the local cartel yesca crops is being shipped south back into Mexico to be used to subvene crank production

Furthermore, with respect to legalizing weed I see that "dream" fading under increasing resistance from the Feds. The current adminsitration has decided that California is the ideal location to flex its muscles on the medicinal growers (state legal) and exercise Federal preemptive law to close both growing and medical sales operations and file federal criminal cases.

Top

Links
Click for excellent scuba lessons with Elbert Greer!


Things to do

News
BelizeNews.com
San Pedro Sun
Ambergris Today
SP Town Council
Channel 7
Channel 5
Amandala
Love FM
The Reporter
Caye Caulker
Chronicles

PLUS TV
TV Newscasts
More News...
Radio Stations

Click for our
Search thousands of Belizean-only websites

Event Guides
Forum Calendar
SanPedroScoop
Belize City Events

Blogs
San Pedro Scoop!
Tia Chocolate
Belize Hub
Tacogirl
Belize Adventure
Romantic Travel
Building a New Life
Conch Creative
As The Coconuts Drop
More Blogs...
Search thousands of Belizean-only websites
Snorkel from the beach at Tranquility Bay Resort - Belize Snorkeling - Belize Dive Resort
White Sands Dive Shop - 5 Star PADI Dive Facility - Daily diving, SCUBA instruction and Snorkeling
White Sands Dive Shop - 5 Star PADI Dive Facility - Daily diving, SCUBA instruction and Snorkeling
Conch Shell Inn: All rooms are right on the beach in the heart of San Pedro, so within walking distance to anything and everything!!
Black Orchid Restaurant & Lounge, Our mission is To Provide each and every Guest with a Pleasant Dining Experience
Coastal Xpress offers a daily scheduled ferry run to most resorts, restaurants and private piers on the island of Anbergris Caye. We also offer  private and charter water taxi service.
Mini Chat

Low Air Fares
Cayo Espanto
Click for Cayo Espanto, and have your own private island
More Links
Click for exciting and adventurous tours of Belize with Katie Valk!
Click to see information on The Blue Hole Skydive Adventure in Belize
Who's Online
2 registered (Marty, 1 invisible), 80 Guests and 4 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Forum Stats
17609 Members
44 Forums
58261 Topics
446472 Posts

Max Online: 1262 @ 06/10/07 02:16 PM




AmbergrisCaye.com CayeCaulker.org HELP! Visitor Center Goods & Services San Pedro Town
BelizeSearch.com Message Board Lodging Diving Fishing Things to Do History
BelizeNews.com Maps Phonebook Belize Business Directory
BelizeCards.com SanPedroDaily.com Picture of the Day

The opinions and views expressed on this board are the subjective opinions of Ambergris Caye Message Board members
and not of the Ambergris Caye Message Board its affiliates, or its employees.