It almost went unreported that over the past 5 months, the BDF and the US Military Liaison Office have collaborated to destroy over 30 million dollars' worth of marijuana plantations around the country. The operation was conducted in 3 separate raids, and it was only possible with the US Military's helicopter assistance, which mobilized the BDF unit to remote areas - which would be otherwise inaccessible.
Today, we spoke to the Commander of the BDF, and he outlined how the raids took place, and why they chose to withhold the reports from the public, which would have been major positive press for the Force:
Brigadier General David Jones - Commander, Belize Defence Force
"The operation was actually a BDF operation; We had two BDF operations, one took place in April and another recently in September. There were a total of over 90 soldiers which included the six seals from the coast guard that took part in the operation but those are BDF type of operation in (joint task force bravo) that is located in Honduras. We negotiated with the US military liaison office here in Belize for their assistance to do the anti-drug operation here. In the April operation, they sent a Chinook and Blackhawk helicopters to do that operation."
"We netted about over 62 thousand plants that valued over 12 million Belize dollars with 2 days of operation alone, within that 2 days it would take us over 2 years with just the BDF and our soldiers alone to locate these plantation and actually go in and destroy them. The 2nd operation occurred in September 7 to 10, where this time we had 2 Chinook helicopters so at any one time they can deploy 45 to 90 soldiers at different locations. The soldiers were able to be dropped off at different locations to destroy the marijuana plantations."
"One of the operation that we had just recently is a third operation with just the BDF, Forestry department and also the Coast Guard Seals who assisted us in destroying a number of plantations again without the helicopters and that's where we had the recent shooting incident where they fired on the BDF patrol and the BDF were able to captured 2 of the guys that were there on the operation and bring them in, they are now in police custody. We destroyed a total of 37 thousand marijuana plants in that operation."
"We haven't been publicizing the operation because we wanted to keep it a secret so that when we do deploy in the area no one actually knows where and why we're going to do it, but we have had extreme success in these operations."