The Belize Police Department has launched an investigation into the landing of another suspected drug plane. The aircraft, a Beechcraft Super King Air 200 is reported to have crash landed shortly after midnight last night in an area behind Blue Creek Village which is located in southern Orange Walk District. Police have one man detained but according to what authorities told the media this morning, there is not much that has been gathered about the mysterious clandestine landing. Dalila Ical has more.
Dalila Ical Reporting:
Heavily armed police and Belize Defense Force personnel descended upon the location where the suspected drug plane crash landed shortly after midnight last night.
The area had been secured sometime after two o’clock in the morning following swift police response to the report. Up until late this morning, authorities continued to comb the entire area. Just before the crash site, armed BDF personnel guarded several gallons of aviation fuel.
A few minutes’ drive away, the Beechcraft Super King Air 200 remained well guarded. The aircraft crash landed in a pasture in the Cuatro Leguas area in southern Orange Walk District, an area located behind Blue Creek Village. Police says the entire cargo area of the plane was empty by the time they arrived and are still unable to say whether anything was being transported.
ACPJoseph Myvett – Head of National CIB: “Upon inspection of the aircraft it was found to have only two seats which were the passenger seat and the pilot’s seat. Also one person was found who is detained, that was found coming out of the area prior to the police’ discovery of the aircraft.”
Police say the individual, a Belizean, was found driving out of the area. His involvement however is still not clear. Police say they do have reason to believe that those involved intended to set the plane on fire.
ACPJoseph Myvett – Head of National CIB: “The area that was damaged from the plane I believe that is the same area that they attempted to set on fire. Traces of blood was found in the pilot’s seat area of the aircraft as well as I believe that upon inspection of the pickup from a distance in the Mexican side there were also traces of blood that were seen from a distance in the pickup as well.”
The pilot and or a passenger may have been injured and quite possibly may have headed towards Mexico.
ACPJoseph Myvett – Head of National CIB: “The police had also observed a white Ford pickup in the rive on the Mexican side which seemed to have been stuck in the river but on the Mexican side of the Rio Hondo River.”
This is the third suspected drug plane to be found in Northern Belize in the past few weeks.
The third suspected drug plane in two weeks was found deep in the farmlands of Blue Creek, Orange Walk around midnight on Wednesday. The area where the plane crash landed is called “Cuatros Lenguas.” It is believed its cargo had been removed and was transported across the Rio Hondo River to Mexico. Three vehicles were discovered where the plane landed and a man known as an employee of a Mennonite businessman was detained while leaving the remote area and is being questioned. The plane originated in Venezuela and is similar to other suspicious aircrafts found in February up north which goes to show that the drug trade is in full swing. News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports.
Isani Cayetano, Reporting
A private aircraft, retrofitted to transport illicit cargo, was found abandoned in a remote location behind the Mennonite community of Blue Creek, in the Orange Walk District. The discovery was made by a joint patrol comprised of military and law enforcement personnel in the early hours of this morning. What they observed upon arrival was a Beechcraft Super King Air still very much intact, despite an emergency landing in the area earlier that night.
ACP Joseph Myvett, Head N.C.I.B
“Sometime shortly after midnight this morning, Orange Walk police received a call of an aircraft which had crash landed in a pasture somewhere in the Cuatro Lenguas area of Orange Walk which is a remote area behind Blue Creek Village. A team of police and BDF responded to the area where they aircraft was located shortly before 2:30 a.m. Upon inspection of the aircraft, it was found to have only two seats, which was the passenger seat and the pilot’s seat.”
The twin-engine turboprop, corporate travel and utility aircraft can carry up to half its weight in consignment, the equivalent of four thousand, one hundred and eighty-three pounds of payload. While nothing was found inside its storage space, investigators believe that the plane was being used in the transshipment of narcotics to neighboring Mexico.
ACP Joseph Myvett
“The only thing [was] the entire cargo area of the plane was empty, with the exception of the two seats, as previously mentioned. Upon inspection of the plane, there seem to have been some intention to set the plane on fire as well. The area that was damaged from the plane, I believe that was the same area that they attempted to set on fire.”
A short distance away from where the airplane had touched down, a delivery truck, the word Jefe etched on its engine cover, was also discovered. In its pan were several containers, including four red drums, presumably carrying fuel. Police have not confirmed whether the content was indeed aviation fuel or gasoline to torch the aircraft.
ACP Joseph Myvett
“That is still under investigation, but I am certain upon inspection of the plane that there was some attempt to set it on fire. I know that a search of the area, the police had also observed a white Ford pickup in the river on the Mexican side which seems to have been stuck in the river, on the Mexican side of the Rio Hondo River.”
One man remains in police custody after being found leaving the area. It is unclear what, if any, was his involvement in the landing, unloading and attempt to light the aircraft on fire.
ACP Joseph Myvett
“One person was found who is detained that was found coming out of the area prior to the police’s discovery of the aircraft. The police are currently on the ground conducting an intensive investigation.”
Interestingly, it appears that the pilot and his passenger may have been injured during the hard landing.
ACP Joseph Myvett
“Traces of blood were found in the pilot’s seat area of the aircraft, as well as I believe that upon inspection of the pickup from a distance, the white pickup found on the Mexican side, were also traces of blood that were seen from a distance in the pickup as well.”
A Google search using the registration number indicates that images of the aircraft were uploaded from Venezuela on February twenty-third.
Another apparent drug plane landed in northern Belize last night - but they didn’t burn this one.
The Beechcraft 200 Super King Air was found in northwestern Belize - near to Blue Creek and not far from the Belize Mexico border. The King Air is a large plane and it can carry about two tons of load. It’s also heavy, apparently too heavy for the muddy are where it landed and the images we got show mounds of mud on the wings. The plane is damaged to the front of the fuselage and one wing is also smashed.
Looking inside, there are lots of black plastic bags, rope and a marker - which, experts tell us, suggest that it may have been used in a wet drop.
Experts say that maybe it made the wet drop, and landed to refuel, but something went wrong on landing and they had to ditch the plane. At today’s press briefing, police told us they did try to burn it.
ACP Joseph Myvette - Head, NCIB "Sometime shortly after midnight this morning Orange Walk police received a call of an aircraft which had crash landed in a pasture somewhere in the Quatro Luegas area of Orange Walk which is a remote area behind Blue Creek village. A team of police and BDF responded to the area where the aircraft was located sometime shortly before 2:30 AM. Upon inspection of the aircraft it was found to have only 2 seats which was the passenger seat and the pilot seat also one person was found who is detained that was coming out of the area prior to the police's discovery of the aircraft. The police are currently on the ground conducting an intensive investigation into this matter."
Jules Vasquez "Was anything found inside the plane? I know often times these planes are destroyed by fire, this one was not."
ACP Joseph Myvette “No, the only thing that the entire cargo area of the plane was empty with the exception of the two seats as previously mentioned. Upon inspection of the plane there seem to have been some intention to set the plane on fire as well."
Reporter "The individual that was subsequently detained was he caught leaving the area on foot, was he driving out of the area?"
ACP Joseph Myvette "He was found driving out of the area but not in the exact immediate area. He's of Belizean nationality. I know a search of the area the police had also observed a white Ford pickup in the river on the Mexican side which seem to have been stuck in the river but on the Mexican side of the river."
Jules Vasquez "We heard that a wing was broken."
ACP Joseph Myvette "The area that was damaged from the plane I believe that is the same area that they attempted to set on fire. Traces of blood was found in the pilot's seat area of the aircraft as well as I believe upon inspection of the pickup from a distance the white pickup found on the Mexican side were also traces of blood that were seen from a distance in the pickup as well."
Jules Vasquez "Sir now we are assuming that drugs were transported on this plane, this is the standard MO for those type of operations. Where did the drugs go?"
ACP Joseph Myvette "Well the contents of the plane has not yet been determined."
Jules Vasquez "But they were not bringing milk."
ACP Joseph Myvette "I don't know if it was bringing anything at all, I'm just telling you that nothing was found and the officers are still out there conducting their investigation.”
The Beechcraft 200 has a flying range of 1600 miles at 350 miles per hour. The plane remains under police guard.
A search of the tail letters shows that it comes out of the Santiago Mariño Caribbean International Airport in Venezuela.
The single suspect police had detained in connection with the landing of a drug plane in the Blue Creek area has been released.
On Wednesday at around midnight, Police - responding to the report of an illicit plane landing - found the Orange Walk resident driving out of the general area where the plane had landed. He was in a red pickup. He was detained for possible involvement since this is not a much trafficked area. But, now he has been released without charges - making it the third case of drug planes landed in the north in 16 days - and police have nothing to show for it: no drugs, no suspects…nada.
And, some say, this is by design, and hint at collusion by some law enforcement elements. First off, the landing of drug planes is obviously a major enterprise, with many moving parts - parts that must exist in Belize for the operations to work. But, police seem clueless. We know for example that this area where the plane landed on Wednesday night was under surveillance by law enforcement. And we know that the persons on the plane had to escape over land - but there is no clue as to their whereabouts or who may have moved them.
And, as this is happening, there are major changes happening within the Special Branch - which had been monitoring the plane landings closely. First off, Special Branch will have a new commander on Monday - Senior Superintendent Marco Vidal, who is also the old commander. And as the old commander leaves Belmopan, along with some top investigators - the question is whether Special Branch will continue to monitor the web of connections in the underworld, the police and officialdom which may be conspiring to enable these illicit plane landings. We'll keep following it.