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Bails, Bullets and A Plane, Cops Nab Drug Plane After Firefight #538183
09/10/19 05:50 AM
09/10/19 05:50 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 70,236
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

Marty  Offline OP

Tonight, police are in possession of more than a tonne of cocaine - after they intercepted a drug plane this morning - after a fiery exchange with the drug runners.

It unfolded very early this morning in the southern Belize District when a team of police and BDF intercepted a drug plane off the Coastal Highway.

We have all the details for you tonight - but we start with the drugs, which are being stored and secured at the Racoon Street Police situation. 7News was there when they arrived:...

Jules Vasquez reporting
The bales of cocaine arrived at the Raccoon Street police station just after 7:00 this morning.

We were kept out of the secure compound, but saw bale after bale offloaded from three pickup trucks and taken upstairs at the Raccoon street station.

Commissioner of police Chester Williams was driving this mobile and wore an operational uniform.

While masked BDF soldiers stood guard in front of the police station - securing the multimillion dollar bust.

As for the drug plane, police got someone to fly the King Air 200 out of the area and it landed at the PGIA this afternoon.

Cops Caught A Ton of Cocaine

But, that's just the prelude to a very big story. In total, 6 foreigners are in police custody for this morning's big drug plane bust.

They have not been charged as yet so police have not released their names but they are 4 Hondurans, 1 Ecuadorian and 1 Mexican - two of them are pilots. 3 of the 6 are under police guard at the KHMH after being injured in the shootout at the illegal airstrip on the coastal road.

Police also recovered 41 bales or 1,210 parcels of cocaine from the scene and - as you saw - the King Air 200 they flew in is also in police custody.

So while those are the facts of the case at this point, what happened out there at the airstrip ?

Well, what unfolded can only be the result of timely and accurate intelligence and a well-coordinated response plan. That's because Belizean authorities were already on the ground laying in wait as the plane landed and the two vehicles showed up to pick up the cargo. That is when Belizean law enforcement pounced on the men. The police opened fire on the men and injured two of the men while another one was reportedly shot by one of their own.

Today at a 3:00pm press briefing in Belmopan Commissioner of Police Chester Williams gave a full run down of what happened on the ground and congratulated his team for this successful drug bust.

Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police
"Yesterday during the day we received intelligence of a tracked leaving out of Venezuela. As we would normally do, we mobilized members of the security forces and deployed as different aero dome, both legal and illegal with the hope that the plane would land at one of these aero dome. Our officers remained in place and around 12:18 last night the plane was spotted making a landing on an illegal aero dome off the Coastal Road. The security forces who were in the area remained in place and allowed the plane to land properly before making a move. When the plane landed properly and the pilot had turned off the engine, two vehicles approached the plane with men on board. These men we believe were the ones who were tasked to unload the cargo from the plane. While they were unloading the cargo, the security forces made a move towards them. In that process, they drove off with one of the vehicles and the some of the security forces in pursuit, while others remained in the area of the plane. Shots were fired and our officers returned fire during which two of the fleeing suspects were injured to the hand. They were all apprehended. The two injured were immediately rushed to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital for treatment while other officers remain at the location awaiting the processing of the scene. Scene of Crime were brought in. The plane was processed. The cargo was unloaded and it totalled 41 bails. They were taken to Belize City where the actual processing will be taken place with the forensic personnel and the counting. The counting yielded one 1,210 parcels. Shortly after the security forces department the location of the plane, information was received that a third person was in the bushes with gunshot injuries. The security forces went to make checks and they found the said third person with pellet wounds to the abdomen. According to him, he was shot by one of his own colleague who had also escaped. He was rushed to KHMH where contrary to the reporting the media that he succumbed, he was admitted in a stable condition."

"I want to applaud all the members of the security forces who were involved in this operation. I believe that it was well planned and well-coordinated, hence the reason it yields the success that it did."

"The two vehicles which were used to unload the cargo, where those vehicles detained? Do they have Belizean license plates? Who do they belong to?"

Chester Williams
"One of the vehicles had Honduran license plates and the other one had no license plate."

"There were mentioned that there were no Belizeans found, or they weren't found on the scene. Is it fair to say that there is some larger connection to a group here in Belize that helped?"

Chester Williams
"That would be assuming and he don't want to assume. From what we know these people came into the country days ago and they might have been doing their own canvassing and might have had knowledge of the area, so we don't want to assume."

Now, the police should be very familiar with this airstrip off the coastal road. Our information says that from as early as 2010 - police have known it to be in active use for illicit landings.

So why don't police destroy this airstrip and other well-known illegal landing sites such as this one. Well Commissioner Williams says it is not that straightforward.

"So why not take measures to destroy the airstrip prior to any plane attempting to land?"

Chester Williams
"We can't go and destroy people private property, no."

"Who does the property belongs to?"

Chester Williams
"I'm not going to go into details with that."

Police say they only found pocket money at the scene other than the drugs and are not sure how many persons are at large. As you heard, no Belizeans were caught on the scene.

The drug cargo has not been weighted yet, but we estimate that the 41 bails or 1,210 parcels weighs over 2,500 pounds, which is more than a ton. But, we stress, the total weight and the street value have not been finalized yet. Hopefully, we can have that by Wednesday.

Creating a Regional Defense Against Drug Planes

CEO in the Ministry of National Security George Lovell was also at the police press briefing head table. He spoke about strengthening ties with their Central American counterparts to better respond to transnational crime.

Ret'd Col. George Lovell, C.E.O., Ministry of National Security
"I have in fact been working with our partners. The question was asked if there is any sort of liaison being done with Interpol and those other organizations. I want to say that just recently I had the opportunity to visit one of the regional centers for intelligent sharing in Salvador and I can tell you that we are looking favourably at seeing if Belize can participate in those kinds of centers and forums. I just had a conversation with my commissioner of police and before I get ahead of myself publicly, we still have not have a conversation yet with our political authorities to see if this is something that they will accept. I can say from what I've seen that there are in fat value for Belize to be participating in this and so that conversation will be have very soon with the minister of national security and certainly the national security council to see if this is something that we can further. But we have been working closely with our allies and it is the kind of sharing of information that caused us to have this kind of successes that we are a people are in fact seeing her in Belize and so that will continue."

We'll keep following this story and have more on Wednesday.

Channel 7

Re: Bails, Bullets and A Plane, Cops Nab Drug Plane After Firefight [Re: Marty] #538210
09/11/19 03:50 PM
09/11/19 03:50 PM
Joined: Nov 2000
Posts: 5,545
Birdland - 1 mile north
ScubaLdy Offline
ScubaLdy  Offline
So what happens to the drugs?
o hope this is no treated like the Cherry wood and burned.
I I'm sure it can LEAGALLY be sold to pharmacy manufacturers for a lot of monen

Take only pictures leave only bubbles
Re: Bails, Bullets and A Plane, Cops Nab Drug Plane After Firefight [Re: Marty] #538214
09/12/19 06:06 AM
09/12/19 06:06 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 70,236
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

Marty  Offline OP

Cops Charge 4 of the Drug Plane 6 in Major Coastal Road Bust

On Monday's newscast, we told you about that big drug bust that police made on Sunday just after midnight. They managed to intercept 6 foreigners who landed an illegal aircraft in an area located off the Coastal Road, at mile 7. That plane was carrying 41 bails of cocaine.

We know a little more about the incident tonight, which we'll share with you, but first, we take you to the Belize City Magistrate's Court this afternoon. That's where 69-year-old Mexican Miguel Cruz Meseguer; the Ecuadoran, 43-year-old Juan Pablo Larrea Cruz; and Hondurans, 51-year-old Carlos Humberto Henriquez Gomez, and 30-year-old David Noe Orellana Discua were all arraigned this afternoon.

These 4 were taken before Senior Magistrate Tricia Pitts-Anderson, they were all jointly read the charge of drug trafficking. Police say that they tried to smuggle just over 1,341 kilograms - or almost 3,000 pounds - of cocaine into Belize. Miguel Meseguer and Juan Cruz, who were the pilot and co-pilot of the illegally landed King Air 200 Beachcraft, were also charged jointly with the offenses of abetment to the importation of a controlled drug, and landing an aircraft without the permission of the Minister of Aviation.

As we told you, it was a well-planned, well-coordinated effort by the Belizean joint law enforcement teams consisting of members from the different security forces. They acted on intelligence on Sunday Night that an aircraft had left Venezuela, and that it was most likely heading to Belize. Just after midnight, the joint law enforcement team that was dispatched on the Coastal Road spotted the aircraft flying low. They waited for the plane to be properly landed, and the engine turned off. The Belizean lawmen then pounced on the traffickers before they realized what was happening. However, they didn't simply surrender; they fired gunshots at the enforcement team members, who were forced to return fire. Though several of the drug smugglers were injured, the Belizean authorities were able to detain everyone. They then escorted the huge quantity of drugs, the occupants of the plane, and the aircraft itself from the landing zone.

It's a big win for law enforcement who have been continuously criticized for arriving after the fact only to find a destroyed plane, no drugs, and no traffickers. The media spoke to Police Commissioner Chester Williams earlier this evening about this latest development in the case.

Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police
"Police arrested and charged 4 persons and 2 more will be charged later on. they have not yet been charged, because they are hospitalized, but as soon as they are released from the hospital they will be charged and the persons charged are, we have Carlos Cruz. He is a Mexican and Juan Cruz, Ecuadoran. Both were the pilot of the plane so those two were charged with importation of controlled substance which is cocaine. We have four persons who will be charged for possession or trafficking for the drugs as well as for abetment to import cocaine into the country. The total weight of the cocaine seized was one thousand three hundred and forty one kilograms. So thats the update where that is concerned."

"Do we know if these persons entered the country via the international airport or other way?"

Chester Williams
"They came in through the border."


Chester Williams

"Will anything be done about the property that was used to basically create an illegal landing area?"

Chester Williams
"I don't know what property you are talking about."

"The airstrip. Was that the landing in an area in a farm behind Democracia?"

Chester Williams
"Its a private property, but there is no nexus between the owner of the property and the landing of the plane, so there is nothing we will be able to do with the owner of that property."

"Will any destruction of the airstrip be done?"

Chester Williams
"It is a private property. One can say that the road was created not for an airstrip and someone just use it to land a plane illegally."

The other 2 detained Honduran men, 31-year-old Allan Yovani Mejia Chirinos and 50-year-old Norlan Jose Carrasco Lopez will be arraigned on drug trafficking as soon as they are well enough to leave the hospital.

Channel 7

Re: Bails, Bullets and A Plane, Cops Nab Drug Plane After Firefight [Re: Marty] #538316
09/19/19 05:26 AM
09/19/19 05:26 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 70,236
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

Marty  Offline OP

60 Million In Cocaine - Vaporized!

Today saw the end of a saga that began at an illegal airstrip on the Coastal road. On the 9th of September just after midnight police lay in wait as a drug plane carrying 41 bales with 1,210 parcels of cocaine landed, and two vehicles arrived to pick up the incoming narco-cargo.

Police opened fire and a shootout ensued. Eventually 8 foreigners were arrested and charged, and the cocaine was confiscated and rushed to the Raccoon Street station for secure storage.

This morning, 9 days later, it was unpacked and taken to a secret location for destruction. Cherisse Halsall reports from the road.

Cherisse Halsall reporting
A convoy of police vehicles left Belize City this morning for an undisclosed location.

Their mission, the destruction of 1.3 tonnes of cocaine valued at just over 60 Million Belize Dollars. 7 News fell in with the convoy for the journey west and got the rundown on the operation from Assistant COMPOL Marco Vidal

Marco Vidal, Assistant COMPOL, Commander of Operations
"It is customary that when we have large quantities of drugs that we apply to the court in order to destroy the drugs and this is we use the provision under the misuse of drugs act in order to apply so that we can get an order from the court and then destroy the drugs."

"Once the order has been given. We escort the drugs from where it is kept to this location where it is being destroyed. Just over 1300 Kilos of Cocaine that is being destroyed. It is valued at just over 60 million dollars Belize."

"It is burst open so that when it is thrown on the fire it can be consumed rapidly. In order to have transparency we have the magistrate, we have a justice of the peace we have the investigator, and the forensic, to ensure that what is being destroyed is actually the drugs that was recovered."

Drug destructions are an extremely serious business, as one Belmopan businessman learned firsthand today. Mike Menjivar, owner of The La Cabana Nightclub, was traveling west reportedly to pick up medicine from the Melchor border, when he attempted to overtake the police convoy. He was warned against doing so by guns pointed in his direction, but continued his approach in what officers deemed an intimidating manner.

Marco Vidal, Assistant COMPOL, Commander of Operations
"We ensure that we have security more so for the quantity and the person's involved so we do a sweep and in this case the vehicle may have been too close to the convoy and that's one of the reasons why it had to be stopped to check that it is not any threat to the security and to the personnel and the drugs that was being escorted to this area."

Menjivar was released and the rest of the day passed without any other security threat or breach - with a publicity win for the police and a huge loss for some unidentified drug cartel.

The drug destruction started at midday and finished at 2:00 in the afternoon.

We note that these drugs were intercepted on September 9th; the previous major plane bust was made exactly year earlier on September 9th, 2018 - in that case it was half a tonne of cocaine - this time it was one and one third tonnes.

Channel 7

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