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Re: DRUG PLANE LANDS IN SOUTHERN BELIZE [Re: Marty] #392866
11/16/10 08:58 AM
11/16/10 08:58 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 70,171
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Marty Offline OP

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Marty  Offline OP

Drug Plane Lands On Southern Hwy; Police Facilitated

Word went out hard and fast at dawn on Saturday morning that a plane had landed in the middle of the Southern Highway. Huge news - and it got even bigger as the second report was that police were implicated in offloading the plane.

Well it gets no bigger than that - and Jules Vasquez went south on Saturday to look for answers - he built his story with help from our friends at PG TV who were the first media to arrive on the scene:….

Jules Vasquez Reporting
This is the Twin Engine Beechcraft King Air 200 where it was found in the middle of the Southern Highway at mile 56 early on Saturday morning.

It landed in an unpopulated area on a straight stretch of road sometime after midnight on Friday.

This is known as the Bladden area - about 7 miles away from the nearest village which is Bladden.

Our information says villagers heard the aircraft circling the area after midnight and alerted police - who called in The Belize Special Assignment Group (B-SAG) - a US funded and trained unit in the police department.

The B-SAG Team found the plane empty - inside the cabin - these straps secured the drug cargo - but the drugs were gone. The luggage compartment had a few discarded wrappers and cans of red bull.

And why was the plane left there? This damaged wing suggests one plausible cause - apparently it clipped a pine tree on the landing.

These makeshift landing lights were found on the road powered by a car battery.

And there was a plentiful supply of plastic fuel containers here at the scene and many more hidden in the bushes three and a half miles down the road between miles 59 and 60.

And while B-SAG guarded the plane at mile 56, twenty-one miles north - Independence police intercepted a white van occupied by 4 veteran police officers and one customs officer - all believed to have participated in landing and offloading the plane. They had muddy boots and wet Anti Drug Unit uniforms.

Police kept searching and at around 5:00 in the evening, they went to mile 65 - 10 miles from where the plane landed - near the Genus Saw Mill, and about a ¼ mile in they found 80 Bales of COCAINE and 17 loose packs of suspected Cocaine - which we estimate to weigh about two thousand kilos - a street value of 38 million us dollars - again unofficial estimates.

It's a tremendous job of detection by police and just processing the crime scene at mile 56 took extraordinarily long blocking off the only artery to the south for almost 12 hours - causing an especially long queue of traffic to be stalled on the road for hours.

Indeed, it is not every day that a plane gets stuck in the middle of the highway - but those in the area did not want to hear that - they were headed to the Battle Of The Drums in PG - and the delay was driving them crazy.

Richard Logan, Traveler
"I am out here since 6 this morning."

Jules Vasquez
"So you were going to the Battle Of The Drums?"

Richard Logan, Traveler
"Yes but because of this plane they have blocked all the traffic. But the drugs were moved a long time ago."

Tomas Pop, Bus driver
"People want to reach to their destination, most of them are going to Puerto Barrios and the others are going home, I have children in the bus that are sick and I don't really like what is taking place right now."

Jules Vasquez
"So what's the condition of your passengers?"

Tomas Pop, Bus driver
"There are almost like 50 people inside the bus right now. They are hungry and thirsty and there is no water. I don't know why they don't want the people to cross so that they can reach their homes. They say that nothing can pass."

Finally at 12:45 pm - police started towing the plane down the road - slowly, slowly the plane was pulled into position and hauled away .

It was parked neatly on the roadside a mile away - an off incongruous site at the entrance to the Bladden reserve - this plush luxury jet - unclaimed, its pilot unaccounted for, and its full story untold…

And while the cocaine is being officially weighed at this hour - the more pressing matter is the four policemen and one customs officer who are being implicated for involvement.

As we noted they were intercepted in a van near the San Juan bus stop - that is 21 miles from where the plane landed. The van was driven by 33 year old Corporal Renel Grant - who is the GG's former driver, along with the GG's current driver, 39 year Corporal Nelson Middleton as well as 38 year old Sergeant Lawrence Humes and 42 year old Sergeant Jacinto Roches attached to the Internal Affairs Desk Belmopan and 36 year old Harold Usher a Boatman at Customs Department.

All of them were detained and taken to the Independence Police Station along with the van. The van was searched and that turned up several battle dress uniforms with anti drug unit markings, several items of wet clothing , 2 car batteries - the same kind that was powering the landing lights on the highway, muddy jungle boots and tennis, and a licensed 9illimter pistol for Harold Usher. They were charged this morning for a single ammunition offence - but we understand it that is preliminary - and the single charge had to be brought to keep them detained while the DPP prepares other charges.

One Corporal Vidal Cacun from the Independence police station has also been charged for a firearm offence and he is also being investigated in connection with the drug ring.

Two other police officers attached to the Independence formation have also been suspended - pending investigation into their possible involvement.

So 8 lawmen - 7 of them police - are implicated; six of that eight have been preliminarily charged and are pending many more charges which are being prepared by the DPP.

This didn't make it into the story, but three miles formt he landing site, police also found a white container truck with twenty three 17-gallon plastic containers, and 3 tanks with about 500 gallons of aviation fuel and 3 fuel pumps. 12 pine logs which had been used to block the road were also stowed in the area.

We stress the weight we calculate of two thousand kilos - is based on the conventional packaging of 25 kilos per bail which would derive two thousand kilos - but that figure is unofficial. Police are still weighing the drugs at this hour - so no official figure is known at this time. A kilo generally sells for upwards of twenty thousand Belize dollars on the streets but the American price is about 18 thousand US dollars per kilo.

One more note, this King Air 200 - which has been moved from the highway and secured by police - is identical to one that landed and was abandoned on the northern highway two years ago. That one culminated in a shootout with the BDF but no one was arrested. In this case, the pilot is believed to have fled. There is also another widely circulated but unsupported theory that in this case there were two planes and one of them did take off…

Channel 7


Re: DRUG PLANE LANDS IN SOUTHERN BELIZE [Re: Marty] #392875
11/16/10 09:13 AM
11/16/10 09:13 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 70,171
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

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Marty  Offline OP

King Air drug plane similar to one stolen in Honduras

In related news, a plane which resembles the drug plane on the Southern Highway was stolen on the night of November seventh from the Armando Escalon military base in San Pedro Sula, Honduras. According to the official reports from Honduras, the plan to steal the twin engine plane was put in motion two weeks prior to the incident. The engine was reportedly revved up, the plane was refueled and one of two keys went missing. The plane, which was originally registered in Mexico, mysteriously landed and was abandoned at the Ramon Villeda Airport in September 2008. It was first handed over for servicing to the Ministry of Defense, which subsequently took possession of it. The reports say that the plane was stolen with the collaboration of an elite special commando of the Honduras military. We report on this incident because the plane has a striking similarity to the drug plane that landed in Belize on Saturday morning. Both planes are Beechcraft twin engine King Air 200’s and both were abandoned.

Channel 5


Re: DRUG PLANE LANDS IN SOUTHERN BELIZE [Re: Marty] #392876
11/16/10 09:13 AM
11/16/10 09:13 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 70,171
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

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Marty  Offline OP

Drug Plane lands on highway with million dollars worth of suspected cocaine

Corruption in the ranks of the police, that’s an allegation that has been around from time immemorial but the stench of corruption hit eerily close to home this past Saturday when a sophisticated drug operation was busted in the south. Four police officers, including the driver assigned of the governor general, and a custom officer have been arrested. We’ll have more on the arrests later in the newscast but first, the bust came after a twin engine Beechcraft landed and sat on the Southern Highway for hours last Saturday morning. Later in the day police found in the vicinity, bales of cocaine containing an estimated two point six tons of the drug. If you do the math, at an estimated seventeen point three thousand US dollars per pound, the value of the bust is in the range of a whopping one hundred and forty million Belize dollars, using the US custom valuation. It is still early in the investigation, so the pilot of the plane, the local kingpins and the cartel to which the shipment is linked, have not been revealed. The plane has been pulled off the highway but sits on the roadside. We begin our coverage of this developing story with a report from News Five Jose Sanchez and Cameraman Christopher Mangar. They captured the spectacle by air with the assistance of an Astrum helicopter piloted by Gustavo Giron Sr. Here’s that report.

Jose Sanchez, Reporting

Residents in villages on the outskirts of Punta Gorda reported hearing an aircraft flying low over the roofs of their homes close to two o’clock on Saturday morning. That was when the Independence Police Formation received information that a suspected drug plane landed near the Bladen Reserve. At mile fifty-seven on the Southern Highway, the wings of the white plane stretched across the highway. The white twin engine aircraft with black and red pinstripes with registration numbers N786B is a Beechcraft Super King Air 200. By five the morning, it was being guarded by police and Belize Defense Force personnel. Since the road was blocked, a caravan of vehicles began to grow at the north end of the checkpoint. People left their vehicles and brought out babies as well as cameras to see the fairly large plane just sitting surreal in the middle of the highway. And they had reason to awe because the plane is much larger than those used for domestic flights in the country and it would have also taken a highly skilled pilot to land on the Southern Highway.

While some soldiers combed the ground for clues, the B.D.F. Defender flew overhead and also scoured the terrain for evidence of the cargo. Eventually, the Defender landed a half mile away along the same stretch of highway at mile fifty-eight. As you look to the left of the Bladen Nature Reserve Sign you can see the B.D.F. Defender parked on the highway, at the same spot the drug plane made its descent on the highway before coming to a halt a half mile away. A closer inspection of the scene reveals several lights on the highway that were used to identify the end of the plane’s runway, because the road would turn into a curve at a bridge if the plane went any further. The runway lights were made with an Atlas brand car battery which was wired to the left and also to the right of the highway with three lights each attached to two pieces of board. Two gallon bottles are visible to the rear of the plane and many more were strewn off the highway on the left of the plane. And a few miles south of the plane, between miles fifty nine and sixty, a cargo truck with flat tires was being guarded by the police. The truck is believed to have carried the fuel to the plane. The truck had twenty three seventeen gallons plastic containers, three tanks with about five hundred gallons of aviation fuel along with three fuel pumps, and twelve pine logs extracted from the area. Although trees were cut to clear the landing, the plane did receive minor damage when the wings clipped a pine tree, hence the reason why the pilot couldn’t take off. After three thirty p.m., the plane was towed a half mile away and parked off the highway to allow the flow of traffic which was backed up since early Saturday morning. And after additional searches, at five in the afternoon, near a saw mill, eighty bales of suspected cocaine and seventeen loose packs of the suspected drug found by the police. Reporting for News Five, Jose Sanchez.

The packages had the scorpion stamp, which indicates the drug originated from Colombia.

Channel 5


Re: DRUG PLANE LANDS IN SOUTHERN BELIZE [Re: Marty] #392877
11/16/10 09:14 AM
11/16/10 09:14 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 70,171
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

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Marty  Offline OP

Caught fleeing scene: customs and police officers, including GG’s driver

As we told you earlier, five persons have been arrested for Saturday’s drug bust. After the beechcraft was dusted for fingerprints by the BDF and police, a white van was intercepted at the San Juan Bus Stop near the Bladen Community. Corporal Renel Grant attached to Belize City Traffic Branch was found behind the wheels. Corporal Nelson Middleton assigned as driver to the Governor General was in the van along with Sergeants Lawrence Humes and Jacinto Jacinto Roches, originally from Punta Gorda and now stationed at the Belmopan police station. The fifth person was Harold Usher, a Customs Department boatman stationed in Corozal Town who is also a former anti-drug unit officer. The men were taken to court in Punta Gorda this morning and News Five Isani Cayetano reports.

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

The Punta Gorda Town Police Station was this morning teeming with activity as the usually quiet local headquarters was fortified by members of the Anti-Drug Unit and the Belize Defense Force. Outside a swarm of heavily armed officers secured the perimeter while the families of four of their own were inside visiting the men in custody. Among them was forty-two year old police sergeant Jacinto Roches, seen here greeting his wife and friends. He, like the rest of his colleagues, is awaiting a single charge of possessing unlicensed ammunition; a live round which was allegedly found in the vehicle they were intercepted in. That account has been disputed by all four officers who argue that during the search of a white van they were traveling in the officers sweeping it came up empty-handed and that the bullet was only discovered after the men were taken into custody.

Police however, are hoping that the ‘holding charge’, as it is referred to, will lead them to information on the contents and occupants of this aircraft which landed on the Southern Highway near Bladden Village in the wee hours of Saturday morning. Inside the twin engine Beech Craft was illegal cargo in the form of two point six tons of pure cocaine. While the men were not caught in the immediate vicinity of the aircraft Independence Police, acting on information received, were able to nab them discovering inside the vehicle a laundry list of fatigue and other related equipment including.

In the parking lot of the police station were two vehicles believed to be used either in the offloading of the eighty bails of cocaine or the transportation of its pilot and passenger. These two vehicles are said to be part of a small convoy of which the white van and another vehicle remain impounded in Independence Village. Punta Gorda police remained tightlipped about the ongoing investigation as it is formally in the hands of the Belmopan formation. According to a reliable source the department is only facilitating the work being done by their counterparts before escorting them out of town.

The equipment found inside the white van included anti-drug gear, several wet clothing items, two car size batteries, and a licensed nine millimeter belonging to Harold Usher. In another search in the Hicatee Area, police found one GPS Garmin brand, a Satellite phone, four Hand Held radios, two flashlights, one Colt point two-two-three semi-automatic rifle and ammo and camouflage jackets.

Channel 5


Re: DRUG PLANE LANDS IN SOUTHERN BELIZE [Re: Marty] #392882
11/16/10 09:26 AM
11/16/10 09:26 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 70,171
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

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Marty  Offline OP
Tons of cocaine found in Belize

BELMOPAN, Belize -- Eighty bails (each bail containing 30 kilos) and 17 bags of cocaine, weighing a total of more than 2.6 tons, were found over the weekend on a roadway in the southern part of Belize, a few miles from the town of Punta Gorda.

Police sources say that they believed that the drugs were transported to the English-speaking country by a twin engine aircraft, which was later found abandoned after apparently having encountered mechanical problems.

No other details are available, but the police are carrying out investigations to ascertain where the drugs originated and if possible where they were intended to be delivered.

The police were unable to estimate the street value of the illegal substance, but one officer said that it would be more than US$50 million.

Reports also state that two police sergeants, two corporals, and a Customs Officer have been arrested and charged with possession of ammunition, while three other police corporals have been charged with unlicensed firearms.

They were all refused bail when they appeared before a magistrate at Punta Gorda court and were remanded to prison until December 9.

Caribbean Net News

Re: DRUG PLANE LANDS IN SOUTHERN BELIZE [Re: Marty] #392897
11/16/10 10:36 AM
11/16/10 10:36 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 70,171
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

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Marty  Offline OP
from a friend....

There are two commercial airstrips only minutes flying time away from where the aircraft landed, plus a nice long deserted runway at the half finished Placencia North airport. There definately WERE two aircraft. plenty of reliable witnesses heard two aircraft. The second one may have planned to land perhaps to pick up the pilot of the plane that DID land, but aborted.

Re: DRUG PLANE LANDS IN SOUTHERN BELIZE [Re: Marty] #392953
11/16/10 11:19 PM
11/16/10 11:19 PM
Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 273
San Pedro
Cayemen Offline
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Cayemen  Offline
What happens to the Drugs?
Will they be destroyed in public (live on TV).

Or will they just disappear?

Re: DRUG PLANE LANDS IN SOUTHERN BELIZE [Re: Cayemen] #392954
11/16/10 11:58 PM
11/16/10 11:58 PM
Joined: Sep 2010
Posts: 19
Mississippi, USA
J
Johnny18 Offline
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Johnny18  Offline
J
Admittedly, I know nothing about aircraft, but I do know how to Google.....and this is what I found out......

From:http://www.airliners.net/aircraft-data/stats.main?id=328

The Raytheon Beechcraft King Air 200 specs state:
Weights

200- Empty 3318kg (7315lb), max takeoff 5670kg (12,500lb). B200 - Empty 3675kg (8102lb), max takeoff 5670kg (12,500lb).

Even if they "stripped" it down, having found 2.6 tons (5200 lbs) of coke, it leads you to belive that there was little if any "product" that was spirited away before the cops found what they did.

But ya might want to keep a lookout for police that have a dusty white patch under their noses! laugh




Re: DRUG PLANE LANDS IN SOUTHERN BELIZE [Re: Marty] #392961
11/17/10 08:42 AM
11/17/10 08:42 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 70,171
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

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Marty  Offline OP
I like this I read on Facebook....

Give credit where it is due! There is a growing group of skeptics that need to be educated regarding the challenges of combating the drug trade. Belize Police captured the plane, drugs and corrupt officials involved in a recent incident. Ministers’ lives, together with their families are being threatened. Thus, the thinking that all public officials are corrupt is misguided.

Other Aircraft facts and links:

* *Empty weight
<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manufacturer%27s_Weight_Empty>:* 6,950 lb
(3,150 kg)
* *Max takeoff weight
<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maximum_Takeoff_Weight>:* 10,100 lb (4,580 kg)
* *Range <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Range_%28aircraft%29>:* 1,530 miles
(1,321 nm, 2,446 km)

Re: DRUG PLANE LANDS IN SOUTHERN BELIZE [Re: Marty] #392965
11/17/10 09:00 AM
11/17/10 09:00 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 70,171
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

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Marty  Offline OP

A Record Bust

2604 kilos of cocaine, that's 5704 pounds - the largest drug bust in Belizean history is tonight being moved to a secure location after being weighed at the Punta Gorda Police station.

The weight was confirmed to us this afternoon by Police and Public Safety Minister Doug Singh who told us via telephone that the cocaine with an estimated street value of 46 million US dollars will be destroyed as soon as possible.

Jules Vasquez
"How can we the public be assured that it is being properly safeguarded and it won't turn into flour, or it won't disappear from wherever it is?"

Hon. Doug Singh, Minister of Police
"There are a lot of security measures in place to safeguard the product and to ensure that as soon as possible we can provide for the destruction of it and if possible we try to do that with the media present. I think certainly the public would want to be satisfied that it has been disposed of properly. It is not the first time that planes have entered our air space and it is always a challenge for the department, the police, the BDF and The Anti-Drug Unit to be able to respond in time especially when landings occur in remote locations. That was the situation here, I think we were just a bit prepared, I think we were able to have the early response."

Jules Vasquez
"There is a lot of speculation that its the DEA that gave you all the information. There is the information to this newsroom which says that it was just local intelligence. Are you able to say how the intercept was made?"

Hon. Doug Singh, Minister of Police
"It was local intelligence, there are monitoring devices available to the drug and the police department that can monitor traffic that enters the air space. It is always difficult for us to predict where they are going to land and that has always been a challenge. As a matter of fact the plane that landed in Sarteneja was also track but it was difficult to determine if it will land in San Pedro or Sarteneja or if it would land in other locations."

Jules Vasquez
"There is very little to directly link these officers with the scene of the crime just from the basic rules evidence that they were not found at the scene where the plane was, they were found some miles away."

Hon. Doug Singh, Minister of Police
"That's the challenge of the investigation; some of the evidence may be circumstantial. We continue to work at it because any possibility of linking evidence to place them at the location I think is going to be key."

Jules Vasquez
"Are you all aware that there is a heightened use of Belize for drug transshipment or forward transfer of drugs?"

Hon. Doug Singh, Minister of Police
"Certainly and as pressures are applied elsewhere Belize will become under even more pressure with respect to us as a possibility."

Singh says he was not shocked when he heard about the plane landing, but he was disappointed to hear that police officers were involved

He says that the police who sent out the alert was a Corporal from Bella Vista village and special constables. He added that there is nothing at this time to implicate higher ranking officers.

Four of the five police officers detained and one customs officer have been charged for possession of ammunition while other charges are prepared. They are: 33 year old Corporal Renel Grant - who is the GG's former driver, along with the GG's current driver, 39 year Corporal Nelson Middleton as well as 38 year old Sergeant Lawrence Humes and 42 year old Sergeant Jacinto Roches attached to the Internal Affairs Desk Belmopan and 36 year old Harold Usher a Boatman at Customs Department.

Another police officer of interest is Corporal VIDAL CAHUN who has been charged for an unrelated FIREARM AND AMMUNITION. As for the plane, investigators are not sure of the origin and there is no plan to keep it. Singh says that as with confiscated assets it will be sold.

The estimated street value of the drugs in Belize is 57 million Belize dollars.

Channel 7


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