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#477778 - 11/19/13 10:03 AM Coast Guard Caught In Rocky Point Shootout
Marty Offline
Rocky Point on Northern Ambergris Caye is a known drug hotspot. The remote area is close to Mexico and many lives have come to a violent end there over the years. This weekend, that reputation for violence was re-confirmed when the Coast Guard came under fire and shot a man there. Around 7:30 on Saturday morning, the Coast Guard was on an operation around 7:30a.m. when they came upon a camp near Rocky Point. 7News spoke to Commander Elton Bennette, the Vice Commandant of the Coast Guard, and he told us that when the Coast Guard approached the old fisheries base, they saw about 5 men, one of whom fired at them. The Coast Guard returned fire, hitting 24-year-old Frank Edwards to the buttocks with the bullet exiting the left hip. Edwards along with 20-year-old Leonardo Williams and 22-year-old Guillermo Salazar, all fishermen from San Pedro, were detained. The gunman and a fifth persons escaped. Still, the men will be charged for 270 grams of marijuana found in the area.

Edwards was taken to the KHMH for treatment. The Coast Guard believes that they disrupted a major drug sale which was about take place at the camp they discovered the 5 men. Notably, law enforcement officers killed three men in that general area in July, 2013.

The name Frank Edwards first came into the news in 2010 when he was charged for the Scotiabank Spanish Lookout Robbery and Murder. He was later acquitted of murder.

Channel 7


One injured in shootout between Coast Guard and civilians


File Photo of Frank Edwards

San Pedro Police are reporting that there was a shooting incident between members of the Belize Coast Guard and civilians. The incident occurred on Saturday, November 16th, on northern Ambergris Caye and resulted in one person shot.

According to San Pedro Police, Belize Coast Guard Lieutenant Gregory Soberanis visited the San Pedro Police Station and reported that a team of Coast Guard officials went on a boat operation just South of Mexico’s Border sometime around 7:30 AM. Upon reaching the old Fisheries Department base on the north-eastern side of the island, they saw six males one of whom was a distinguished by his dread locks) who, upon seeing them, opened fire at the Coast Guard vessel. The Coast Guard team, returned fire injuring a male person. That person was identified as 24-year-old Frank Edwards, a Belizean fisherman of San Mateo area of San Pedro Town. Also captured were two males, 20-year-old Leonard Williams, a Belizean fisherman, and 22-year-old Guillermo Salazar, a Belizean fisherman, both of San Mateo area of San Pedro Town.

According to police, the other two males, including the gunman, made good their escape. A search within the area of their camp lead the Coast Guard Officials to a black knapsack which containined 270 grams of suspected cannabis.

All three persons were taken to the Dr. Otto Rodriguez PolyClinic II. Edwards was seen with injuries to his left hip and buttocks from what appeared to be a single gun-shot wound. Edwards was transported to Belize City to seek further medical attention. Williams received injuries to his forehead and a medical officer his certified his injuries as wounding. Salazar was seen with a swollen jaw on the left side of his face and a medical officer certified his injuries as Harm.

Edwards remain under police guard, while Salazar and Williams remain detained at the San Pedro Police Station as part of the investigation.

San Pedro Sun


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#477784 - 11/19/13 10:26 AM Re: Coast Guard Caught In Rocky Point Shootout [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Anti-drug operation on La Isla Bonita; Coast Guard officers shoot a civilian

Elton Bennett

A man is at the K.H.M.H. recovering from a gunshot wound he received during a Coast Guard operation on Northern Ambergris Caye. Acting on information received, on Saturday the Coast Guard mobilized an anti-narcotics operation in a known hotspot on Ambergris Caye. The patrol allegedly came under attack from five men at a camp, and returned fire. During the altercation twenty-four-year-old Frank Edwards, a fisherman from the San Mateo area of San Pedro, was shot on his left hip, while Leonard Williams and Guillermo Salazar were detained. Today Vice-Commandant Elton Bennett told News Five that while they did locate a small amount of marijuana on the site of the altercation, he believes a major drug operation was averted by the presence of the Coast Guard.

Commander Elton Bennett, Vice Commandant, Belize Coast Guard

“On the sixteenth November, 2013 we conducted a special operation in the area of Northern Ambergris Caye. The patrol was inserted near the Belize/Mexico border and made their way down and about one mile on the patrol we spotted five men in a camp. We approached the area and one of the men fired shots at the Coast Guard patrol. We returned fire and were able to neutralize the situation and we were able to detain three of those five individuals. One of them got shot during the process and was wounded. We took him to the San Pedro Polyclinic. We found a small quantity of marijuana in the area but our main mission in the area was a counter-drug operation.”

Reporter

“I know that you all have had problems in that area before. Is that correct?”

Commander Elton Bennett

“That’s right…it’s an area that we target on a routine basis. It’s very busy with traffickers – illegal drug trafficking and weapons trafficking so it’s an area that we target on a regular basis.”

Two men, one of them the gunman who fired on the Coast Guard, escaped. A black knapsack was found containing two hundred and seventy grams of suspected cannabis. 

Channel 5


Allegation of unnecessary force by Coast Guard a hoax

Jorge Aldana

There is a serious allegation arising from the Coast Guard operation on Ambergris Caye over the weekend. As officers transported the injured Frank Edwards to the San Pedro Polyclinic, they were spotted by San Pedro Sun journalist, Jorge Aldana. Aldana started taking pictures of the men and that’s when things allegedly went south. While there has been no official statement from our journalist colleague, there are claims that the Coast Guard operatives pointed their weapons at him and he was relieved of his phone and camera. This afternoon the San Pedro Sun issued a press release in which it stated that it is investigating the incident of unnecessary force. Vice Commandant Elton Bennett today confirmed that Aldana’s camera and phone were taken away from him to protect the identity of the Coast Guard officers. But at this point, pending a full internal investigation, he denies that guns were pointed at the journalist or that he was manhandled in any way.

Commander Elton Bennett, Vice Commandant, Belize Coast Guard

“As of now we have been dialoguing with the San Pedro Sun and we have not received an official report or complaint from them. We have talked to them on the phone. Once we receive a copy of a report we will do an official internal investigation. So far it’s just rumours. We have interviewed and started our internal processing into the allegations and so far we’ve found that the allegations are not as he mentioned. We’ve also talked to some of the Police Officers who were in the area and asked them for their account of the situation and it’s not what he said. What happened is that as a journalist he was there doing his duty and we respect that, but he also needs to respect our privacy as relates to these types of operations. He was informed that he’s not allowed to take pictures of the individuals who were on that patrol. This is a breach of operational security. This could put our men at risk, so therefore we informed him of that. He continued so we took away his camera and deleted the pictures of those individuals whose faces were on his camera and we did that for operational security purposes.”

Elton Bennett

Reporter

“Was his equipment handed back to him? I understand his phone was also taken away.”

Commander Elton Bennett

“His camera and phone were taken away from him and given back to him in good order.”

Bennett says that Aldana was held against a wall and searched to ensure that he had no weapons on him, since he was within the area of operation of the Coast Guard team. This evening News Five spoke to Officer Commanding the San Pedro Police Formation Luis Castellanos, who confirmed from police officers on the scene that at no time were any weapons trained at Aldana during the incident.

Channel 5


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