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#524494 - 07/11/17 05:02 AM Nearly 100 BDF uniforms found at house in OW  
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 55,706
Marty Offline
Marty  Offline
On Friday we told you about the close to 100 BDF uniforms and old BDF boat engine parts which were found at a residence in Orange Walk. BDF Commander David Jones told us that all the items had been written off and should have been destroyed by the Ministry of Finance. But they weren't and they ended up in the hands of a Mexican man who BDF and Police found near the Mexico border with BDF uniforms. He led police to the residence of Sarco Torres in Orange Walk Town.

Today the Financial Secretary who runs the Ministry of Finance confirmed to us that Torres was part of a work gang that the Ministry contracted to dispose of almost 1200 uniforms and other BDF items that had been written off. Waight says all the uniforms should have been burned - but he believes they were not, and Torres took a portion for himself.

Waight calls it a breakdown in procedure and, quote, "a serious breach."

But police don't seem to agree. They have concluded that no crime was committed, all all three men were released this weekend with no charges. Police confiscated the items.

We note that there are more than a few glaring irregularities in this case: first, the stash of uniforms at Torres's house included one brand new uniform - among the old ones. All the new uniforms, we are told, have individual serial numbers. Second, 7News has confirmed that Torres was in communication with a senior BDF officer on Thursday right around the time that the uniforms were found.

The BDF officer seems to be telling him that there are no soldiers on patrol in a certain area. We did call that officer on the number we got from the text message and he told us he is not authorized to speak. He referred us to General David Jones who repeated that he has no report that Torres was in communication with a senior BDF Officer.

We'll keep following this story.

Channel 7


#524509 - 07/11/17 05:14 PM Re: Nearly 100 BDF uniforms found at house in OW [Re: Marty]  
Joined: Jun 2001
Posts: 1,301
dabunk Offline
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dabunk  Offline
Do the police think people are really that stupid to believe their lies! And the men are free with no charges!!


But police don't seem to agree. They have concluded that no crime was committed, all all three men were released this weekend with no charges. Police confiscated the items.

We note that there are more than a few glaring irregularities in this case: first, the stash of uniforms at Torres's house included one brand new uniform - among the old ones. All the new uniforms, we are told, have individual serial numbers. Second, 7News has confirmed that Torres was in communication with a senior BDF officer on Thursday right around the time that the uniforms were found.

#524515 - 07/12/17 05:04 AM Re: Nearly 100 BDF uniforms found at house in OW [Re: Marty]  
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 55,706
Marty Offline
Marty  Offline

Why Didn’t Police Arrest For Those BDF Uniforms?

The Commissioner also commented on that case of the close to 100 BDF uniforms which turned up last week at a private residence in Orange Walk. As we've told you, the majority of the uniforms were written off by the BDF - and the procedure is that the Ministry of Finance should have destroyed almost 1200 uniforms it received from the BDF. Yesterday the Financial Secretary Joe Waight conceded that there was a breakdown in procedure - what he called a "serious breach", because one of the men it contracted to do the disposal, Sarco Torres ended up with almost 100 of the uniforms at his home in Orange Walk Town. More interestingly, a Mexican was found with a bundle of the uniforms last Thursday heading to Botes, Mexico. And while all the uniforms were supposed to be old and unserviceable, one of the new type of British style camouflage uniforms was in the mix - which raises all kinds of questions. Also, there is a string of text messages that 7News has seen from a senior BDF Officer to Sarco Torres - where the BDF Officer tells Torres that no BDF patrols should have been in a certain area. It suggests collusion between the military and suspicious persons, but, yesterday, the Commander of the BDF, David Jones told us he knew of no such text message, and today when we asked him again via text about the British uniform and the text message form a senior officer, he did not reply.

But, the police also have a part to play in all this - since they released all three men who had been detained in connection with the uniforms. They said there was no sign that any crime had been committed. We asked the Commissioner about that today:...

Allen Whylie - Commissioner of Police
"I know a number of items were in deed found by the police. The matter is being investigated. Obviously the investigation has not concluded and there is nothing stopping us from at the end of that investigation to charge persons if in deed they have committed some crime or some offence. In terms of what those individuals were doing with those items, that process of the investigation is still on going."

"In the past I can recall that we use to charge people for being in possession of uniforms, but I was told that there was some challenge to a case that we had many years ago and the practice had cease in terms of charging for those things."

"What we are trying to establish is how those items got there, what those persons were doing with it and who took it there etc."

Reporter
"The financial secretary to us has said that this was a breach and we have since learnt that text messages have been sort of making the rounds in the press showing communication between the Mexican national and a senior BDF officer and someone from the Ministry of Finance being reference in those text messages."

Allen Whylie - Commissioner of Police
"I am certain that the Ministry of Defence is looking in terms of their internal process and to see if any breaches had occurred. We are looking at whether any criminal activity took place. But I cannot speak for the ministry of defence, you'd have to perhaps ask the CEO or perhaps the general."

Reporter
"Are police looking at those text messages, the electronic communication which indicates collusion, so to speak?"

Allen Whylie - Commissioner of Police
"I don't know if the police have seen them, have heard of them, have had access to them. Because its the first time I am hearing of it. But if you share them with Mr. Myvette who is the head in CIB, I am certain that he would get it to the investigators."

Reporter
"Is it a concern that these items may have been intended for exportation across the border where BDF related uniforms would be use for lawless purposes?"

Allen Whylie - Commissioner of Police
"I think you are asking me to speculate in terms of what the items were doing up there or how they got up there. I would be very concerned if equipment of a military nature from Belize like the uniforms would get in the hands over the border of any perhaps criminal elements."

Channel 7


#524535 - 07/13/17 04:40 AM Re: Nearly 100 BDF uniforms found at house in OW [Re: Marty]  
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 55,706
Marty Offline
Marty  Offline

BDF, Defense Ministry Not Investigating Missing Uniforms, Or Major’s Connection

The BDF is not conducting an investigation into the case of close to 100 uniforms and other discarded equipment which were found at civilian Sarco Torres's home in Orange Walk.  The BDF Commander David Jones did not reply to our request for a comment, and Defense Minister John Saldivar referred us to his CEO - who said they are waiting on the police investigation.  But, according to our sources, the BDF is classing it as a case of improper disposal of items that had been written off.  The BDF sees that as a matter strictly for the Ministry of Finance - where the Financial Secretary Joe Waight has confirmed that there was a "serious breach" in procedure.  

But that's far from the end of the story because the text messages on Sarco Torres's phone show that he was communicating with two persons: Beris Codd, a senior officer at the Ministry of Finance, and BDF Major Jermaine Burns - who is the airwing commander.  Police found the text messages when they detained Torres.  They show Major Burns discussing BDF deployments in specific areas.  Two days ago, we called Burns - on the same number we saw in the text messages - to ask him for comment:..

Jules Vasquez
"Hi Major Jermaine Burns."

Major Jermaine Burns - BDF Air-wing Commander
"Yes."

Jules Vasquez
"This is Jules Vasquez from Channel 7 News."

Major Jermaine Burns
"Aha."

Jules Vasquez
"Sir I'm trying to phone you regarding this thing with the BDF uniforms and spares and written off spares."

Major Jermaine Burns
"You need to call the general."

Jules Vasquez
"I am calling you personally because I saw a text message where you and Torres were in communication."

Major Jermaine Burns
"You still need to call the general, we are privy to talk to the media. If they give me permission to talk to the media then I will talk to the media."

Jules Vasquez
"Okay I will call the general then, appreciate it major thank you sir."

He directed us to General Jones who we contacted on that same day and he told us, quote, "I have had no report of Mr. Torres communicating with Major Burns." end quote.

The case is also being watched by the US Embassy since they donated a number of outboard engines to the BDF - and outboard engines - which had been written off - were included in the stash found at Sarco Torres's house in Orange Walk.  Torres was contracted by the Ministry of Finance to dispose of and destroy the items written off by the BDF.

Channel 7


#524537 - 07/13/17 05:17 AM Re: Nearly 100 BDF uniforms found at house in OW [Re: Marty]  
Joined: Jun 2001
Posts: 1,301
dabunk Offline
.
dabunk  Offline
The case is also being watched by the US Embassy since they donated a number of outboard engines to the BDF - and outboard engines - which had been written off - were included in the stash found at Sarco Torres's house in Orange Walk. Torres was contracted by the Ministry of Finance to dispose of and destroy the items written off by the BDF.

#524570 - 07/15/17 06:16 AM Re: Nearly 100 BDF uniforms found at house in OW [Re: Marty]  
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 55,706
Marty Offline
Marty  Offline
Cartels have use for fake military uniforms

Last Thursday, a Belizean man who lives close to the Belize-Mexico border was busted by police and BDF officers with close to 100 BDF uniforms. He was temporarily detained by police and released without any charges.

Our newspaper grew concerned when we learnt that the man enjoyed cozy relationships with senior BDF officers, who enjoyed cozy relationships with ruling UDP politicians.

Last Thursday, a Mexican national on his way to Mexico from Orange Walk Town was also busted with a bundle of BDF uniforms. When officers inquired where he had gotten them, he pointed to the Orange Walk residence of Sarco Torres. Police went to Torres’ house, where they found close to a hundred uniforms, and BDF boat engine parts inside his home. He and two men at his residence were detained.

While in police detention, Torres contacted BDF Major, Jermaine Burns, the brother of UDP Belmopan City Councilor, Jacklyn Burns, a long-time loyalist of Defence Minister John Saldivar. Amandala has obtained copies of their text messages in which it was made apparent that certain parties did not expect BDF soldiers to be in Orange Walk at that time.

After a brief detention, Torres and the other men were released from police custody.

Information to Amandala is that the Ministry of Finance had gathered 1200 unserviceable BDF uniforms. Sources at the Ministry of Finance say that Torres was one of the men contracted to dispose of uniforms the BDF had written off, but instead he chose to salvage some. It is not yet known if other persons engaged in the disposal also took the opportunity to salvage some of the uniforms.

In the past, possession of those uniforms would have led to criminal charges but during his press conference in Belmopan on Friday, Commissioner of Police, Allen Whylie, told the media that that practice was done away with.

“In the past, I can recall, we used to charge people for being in possession of uniforms, but I was told that there was some challenge to a case that we had many years ago and the practice had ceased in terms of charging for those things,” he said.

When the media asked if he suspected that the salvaged uniforms would be transported to Mexico, Whylie said, “I think you are asking me to speculate in terms of what the items were doing up there or how they got up there. I would be very concerned if equipment of a military nature from Belize, like the uniforms, would get in the hands over the border of any perhaps criminal elements.”

Experts on the narcotics trade say that Mexican drug cartels have developed a reputation for wearing military paraphernalia during their execution of some extremely heinous crimes.

BDF Commander David Jones has not yet commented on this matter. His CEO has indicated that he was waiting on the results of police investigations, even though the police have indicated that no crime was committed by Torres.

We understand that the US Embassy is looking into the affair of the salvaged uniforms.

Amandala


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