35 parcels of cocaine, 1.8 million fished in sea near Turneffe
Close to two million Belize dollars worth of cocaine was found this morning in the area of the Turneffe Atoll. The drugs were taken in by the Belize Coast Guard for processing at their headquarters. Interestingly, the bale carried the markings, PZ, which is the same as those on three parcels of cocaine found last week on three fishermen from Copper Bank. It is believed that the drugs are part of a wet drop from Colombia and that more parcels could be floating in the area. News Five’s Jose Sanchez has the details of how the drugs were found.
Jose Sanchez, Reporting
This morning the authorities came across a bale of cocaine. The official version of the story is that a Belize Coast Guard patrol stumbled upon the cocaine somewhere in the thirty miles long area of the Turneffe islands. The Coastguard patrol then took the drugs to the Coastguard Headquarters on the Western Highway where it was processed, weighed and sampled. The police department has been tightlipped so far but News Five has uncovered some details that won’t stay hidden.
Thirty miles from the coast of Belize City, the large expanse of the Turneffe Islands and atoll has become a home for divers, eco tourists and fishing enthusiasts looking for Marlin, sailfish, groupers and tuna. So that is how some tourists who were on the open sea came across the sealed bail. The guides on the boat pulled the bail to shore and according to reliable reports, they then put the bale on a secure location on an island. The guides returned to Belize City and the tourists informed the employer of their guides who in turn called the authorities. The Belize Coastguard retrieved the bale and on their vessel took the drugs to the headquarters where security and activity were already in a heightened state of security for members of the U.S. Southern Command who were at the facility. While members of the Southern Command and Coastguard officials patrolled the grounds, the Scenes of Crime Van, also sponsored by the U.S., was sitting in the yard. The police and officials were on the second floor of the building removing the crocus sack was held together with this yellow tape. After peeling two layers of the crocus sack, a black plastic also held another green bag layer and inside were thirty five parcels which have been positively tested for cocaine. The bricks that were red in color had the marking PZ. Only a week ago, the police made a cocaine bust in Orange Walk and the drugs also had the marking of PZ.
Inspector Fitzroy Yearwood, Police Press Officer [File: August 20, 2012]
“On Friday the seventeenth August 2012, Police conducted a vehicle check-point at the toll bridge and around nine-ten p.m. they stopped a red geo-prism car with license plate BZD7173 that had five male occupants. As a result, three parcels of suspected cocaine were found; two marking double x and one with the PZ mark. The drugs were weighed in their presence totaling to three thousand four hundred and seventy grams. All five men identified as, Rene Caceres thirty-one years old, Noe Tun thirty years old fisherman of Chunox Village, Leonardo Tun thirty-two year fisherman, Cornelio Mendez forty years old fisherman and Abimael Ake thirty years of Copper Bank Village were arrested and charged for Drug Trafficking.”
No one has been arrested for this incident and the moderate estimate values the thirty-five parcels to be in the range of one point eight million dollars. Reporting for News Five, Jose Sanchez.
We didn’t get any confirmation from the police, but hopefully they will provide further details on Thursday.