Mayhem in the city, where two late evening shootings have left one man dead and another injured. But tonight, we go first to a major drug bust early this morning near the Haulover Bridge; it netted drugs and cash, as well as the apprehension of the big fish. The Financial Intelligence Unit has been called in. The tenant of the house at mile four and half on the Philip Goldson Highway was detained by police and his vehicle, impounded. Concealed inside his van, police found parcels of the high grade weed and ten thousand Belize dollars. Lionel Longsworth is believed to be a big supplier of marijuana whose his name has come up in other incidents. Here is News Five’s Isani Cayetano.
Isani Cayetano, Reporting
This morning around seven a.m., a team of officers from the Belize Police Department descended on a residence near mile four and a half on the Philip Goldson Highway. In one fell swoop the heavily armed cops surrounded the single-story building and commenced a thorough search of a minivan, before combing the property as well. The raid yielded a quantity of compressed marijuana and a large sum of money.
Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police
“This morning, it was sometime around seven a.m., police descended on a property on the Philip Goldson Highway and searches were conducted in that yard and the search led to the discovery of a number of parcels of what we believe to be high-grade marijuana or cannabis. Also found was over ten thousand Belize currency in cash. As a result of that, police have detained the person who occupies the premises and the drugs, for the most part was found in a van that was parked in the yard. That van has also been impounded by the police pending the outcome of our investigation.”
Arrested at the scene of the discovery is this individual, who has since been identified as Lionel Longsworth. While Commissioner of Police Chester Williams refrained from naming the suspect, Longsworth is believed to be the tenant, as well as the owner of the vehicle in which the drugs were concealed.
“I’m not going to call names at this time because no one has been charged, but I will say that the investigation will go beyond the police. I have directed that we get FIU [Financial Intelligence Unit] involved in the investigation because we believe that this person is one of the major supplier of cannabis in Belize. It’s the kind that I think they call Kush. He’s one of the major suppliers.”
It is believed that the individual arrested today is a drug wholesaler. As a result, police are seeking to seize any property of his that maybe tied to the proceeds of illicit activity.
“Other things were found that substantiate that he is a distributor and so we want to get FIU involved to see if it is that we would be able to do some asset forfeiture under the Anti-Money Laundering and Proceeds of Crime Act. So that’s where we are with that right now.”
“As a senior law enforcement officer and as an attorney yourself, how do you look at the intersection, perhaps, of a law that allows for an individual to be in possession of up to ten grams, but then in terms of trafficking and distribution there are heavy penalties and fines? It’s like the chicken before the egg…”
“I am not going to delve into that, that’s a matter for parliament to decide. The law of our country is that to be in possession of drugs in a certain quantity, sixty grams and above, in the case of cannabis, is drug trafficking and until that law changes that is the law and we as the law enforcement agency in the country, we will enforce that law.”
Of note is that a vehicle belonging to one Lionel Longsworth was initially wanted in connection with the murder of Joseph Babb which occurred on New Year’s Day in Belize City.