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Drug Plane Landing #547852
01/29/21 11:35 AM
01/29/21 11:35 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 72,050
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Marty Offline OP

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Marty  Offline OP
Belizean authorities intercepted a drug plane and confiscated some drugs. We are told that the operation also led to the detention of six persons. We are told that Belizean law enforcement officers were detained in the operation.

News Five has learnt that the drug plane landed in the wee hours of this morning west of Crooked Tree Village. We are also told that Mexican nationals were involved in the drug landing. More details to follow...

Channel 5

Re: Drug Plane Landing [Re: Marty] #547860
01/29/21 04:31 PM
01/29/21 04:31 PM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 72,050
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Marty Offline OP

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Marty  Offline OP
Commander of the BDF Steven Ortega has comfirmed that his driver has been detained by Police after a drug plane landed, allegedly in the Lemonal area, early this morning. Unofficial reports are that 27 bales of cocaine were seized, along with six persons.




Drug Plane Crash Lands in Remote Area of Northern Belize District
Twenty-five bales of cocaine and nine men, most of whom are law enforcement officers, have been taken into police custody following an operation overnight in northern Belize District. Regional counterparts were tracking an aircraft which departed from South America sometime earlier, and when it entered Belize’s airspace, police and B.D.F. officers wasted no time springing into action. The twin-engine aircraft went down in the area of Lemonal and Crooked Tree and by the time police responded to the location, they were able to capture one of two boats in a nearby lagoon. Inside the detained vessel were nine Belizeans who were in possession of two bales of cocaine. At the scene of the burnt aircraft were another twenty-three bales of cocaine. This morning a news team headed out to the remote area.

Re: Drug Plane Landing [Re: Marty] #547863
01/30/21 05:49 AM
01/30/21 05:49 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 72,050
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Marty Offline OP

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Marty  Offline OP

Drug Plane In Flames, Cops Catch Local Lawmen On The Move With Bales

Tonight, three lawmen are detained after they were caught allegedly transporting two bales of cocaine away from a drug plane crash site.

The plane, which entered Belizean airspace at about 3:30 a.m. would eventually make three circles over the Hill Bank area before it crash-landed near Lemonal.

And this afternoon our Courtney Menzies went trekking through that rough terrain to find the remains of the plane. Here's what she found at the scene and a re-cap of the action that went before. She and Cherisse Halsall have team coverage:

It turned out to be a total of 9 men, three lawmen, and six civilians, they were all allegedly involved in the logistics for landing this plane and moving its illicit cargo.

Today that twin-engine plane lay in ruin near Lemonal village in Central Belize - an 4 mile hike across a private farm on a road that was impassable to many.

We got a recap of last night's action from Commissioner of Police Chester Williams:

Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police
"The officers said that about 20 minutes after landing they saw a huge flame from the area where the suspect aircraft had landed and a few minutes later they saw a boat in the lagoon heading west, the boat was moving at very high speed and so we were unable to catch that boat but minutes later another boat was seen, a smaller vessel this time was seen coming from the same direction where they had seen the plane go down, and the officers were able to take possession of a boat that was in the hill bank area and went out in the lagoon and they were able to capture the second boat, inside that boat were nine men and a search thereof yielded two bales of what we believe to be cocaine. The individuals and the boat were taken to the dock where we learned the names of the persons to be one Tyrell Talbert assigned to a Special Patrol unit (S.P.U.), one Byron Claire police constable assigned to the canine unit, and I think one Steve Roland I think that's the name, who is a Lance Corporal in the Belize Defense Force, we also had in that vessel Dwight Mcfazden, we have another man Claire who is the father of P.C. Claire and some other individuals there were a nine as I said."

All of the lawmen involved are destined for interdiction:

Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police
"They were armed, two of them had shotguns and one had a 9-millimeter pistol for which they have a license and again as a part of the process, it is my intention to revoke those gun licenses."

And while the culprits have been caught the same can't be said for the majority of the cargo.

Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police
"We do believe that it may still be in the country. We still have a search team out in the area canvassing the lagoon, hopefully, if it is that the boat is still in the country we will be able to find it."

Alleged Cocaine Cops Face Interdiction

By noon the Queen Street police station was under heavy guard as the cops took those two bales, plus the 23 more found close to the wreckage. That's a total approximate weight of 1,600 pounds or about three quarter of a tonne.

So, it's a huge drug bust but it yields no glory for the Ministry of Defence, and in light of the alleged involvement of several lawmen, rather casts a shadow.

Cherisse Halsall caught up with the COMPOL this afternoon to get his views on the bust and what it means for an obvious culture of drug trafficking that's taken root in his department.

Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police
"We took possession of the contents of the vessel and the individuals, they were brought here at Queen Street police station where the two Bales of suspected cocaine was weighed and amounted to somewhere around 78, no 64 kilos, about 70 kilos more or less, each bale contained 30 parcels of suspected cocaine, those individuals will be charged for the drug trafficking of that amount of drugs."

But while the charge for trafficking in that approximately 154 pounds of cocaine is likely to stick, the Commissioner explained that the rest of the similarly packaged product is likely to be labeled found property.

Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police
"We also went and we conducted a search in the area where the plane had landed, we managed to locate the plane but it was destroyed by fire a search of the area led to the discovery of 23 bales of cocaine or suspected cocaine, that too was taken into custody of the police and brought here and again each of those 23 bales, contained 30 parcels, or 30 bricks, that has also been weighed and just let me give you the total weight of that. It amounted to 732 kilos that, for now, will be labeled as found property as even though we can see that the packaging of the two bales found with the group of nine is the same as the packaging for the other 23, the fact that we did not found these individuals in the area where the 23 were found, it will be difficult for us to charge them for that amount of drugs and so, for now, it will be labeled as found property while we do some investigation to see if we will be able to tie them to the second fines and so we see that there is where we are right now."

Still, he's hoping they can make an example of Talbert, Claire, Roland, and the others.

Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police
"It makes me feel good to know that we're catching them and hopefully, the rest who are involved will get the message because if they don't then they'll suffer the same fate as these ones and the ones before."

Williams seemed satisfied with the arrest but we did our best to keep him humble.

Cherisse Halsall:
"Critics would say that this was a crash landing, and if it hadn't been a crash landing you guys wouldn't have intercepted this one, what would you say to that?"

Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police
"Then I say to the critics that, um, perhaps they were the pilot."

The BDF Commander’s Driver Implicated

So, while that was our conversation with the Police Commissioner this afternoon, we got an opportunity to speak this morning with the Minister of National Defence and the Commander of the Belize Defence Force.

It's a mixed bag for the BDF. Yes, no less than the Commander's driver was caught allegedly moving illici drugs. But, on the upside, BDF teams assisted the police in carrying out the interdiction. Secondly, the Joint Intelligence and Operations Center, JIOC, which is an important part of the security forces' intelligence arm, tracked the drug plane and informed the law enforcement authorities.

Here's the conversation we had with both military officials this morning before more details were revealed later in the day:

Hon. Florencio Marin Jr - Minister of Defense
"The investigation is ongoing. So, my comments will be very limited, but I just want to congratulate the teams who were able to successfully interdict the drugs that came in. But, I do have to be limited in my comments because it's ongoing right now as we speak."

Reporter
"Sir, we understand, unfortunately though, that lawmen including a member of the BDF were supposedly found in the general area of the drug. Can you confirm?"

Hon. Florencio Marin Jr
"No, I cannot confirm because I have heard it as well. It has not been confirmed to me, but I want to assure you. We will fully cooperate with all investigations necessary, and let the chips fall where they may."

Reporter
"Are you able to confirm if illicit cargo was retrieved from the area?"

Hon. Florencio Marin Jr.
"Yes, we heard some bails were recovered."

Reporter
"Cocaine."

Hon. Florencio Marin Jr.
"Yes, that's what I heard."

Reporter
"It must be distressing to you that a lawman under your command is being implicated."

Brig. Gen. Steven Ortega - Commander, BDF
"It is very distressing. I mean, it is not only distressing for me, but for the entire force because we're a professional organization, and we don't expect - our troops aren't trained to be on the other side of the law. We're trained to uphold the law. So, it is a very, very distressing time."

Reporter
"Sir, are you be able to confirm whether or not your driver was detained as part of that operation to intercept that..."

Brig. Gen. Steven Ortega
"Yes. Yes, he was."

Reporter
"Okay, he still works for you?"

Brig. Gen. Steven Ortega
"Well, he was my driver."

Reporter
"Was."

Brig. Gen. Steven Ortega
"Was, because I can't have a driver being detained by the police for such actions."

Reporter
"What else can you tell us about the details of that drug interdiction?"

Brig. Gen. Steven Ortega
"Normally, the police would be the ones who follow it up because they are the ones who track it throughout. But, our Joint Intelligence and Operation Center are the ones who continuously track these aircrafts coming. And then, we deploy the deterrent patrols out. And, should it make a landing, as this one did, early this morning, we try our best to intercept. And, we intercepted this one with some personnel. So, it is a very successful day for us as well."

Reporter
"There's always been the suspicion - never confirmed really, that lawmen are supposedly facilitators, and that is the reason why our authorities tend to arrive after these planes land, or after the cargo is offloaded. What are your comments on that, given this morning's discovery?"

Brig. Gen. Steven Ortega
"Well, I don't know how much you know about the Force, but these operations are very secret. So, it is not open to everyone. The only persons who know about it are the persons who are going out on those operations. Would you think that a member of the Force would get caught, or a member of the police force would get caught if they knew about the operation? So evidently, there is a level of secrecy involved, otherwise, they would all get away. But, that's not the case in terms of the planes getting away. It's just that we can't cover all the places at the same time."

Detail Of A Drug Plane Down

Earlier in the news we told you all about this morning's drug plane that crash landed in the northern Belize District. As you told you, our team was at the crash site - after a long and muddy slog that took over four hours. She has this hard earned story from the ground.

My camera man and I trekked for two hours in thick mud and water just to reach the crash site. It's an area that persons would not normally traffic, since even the BDF's truck got stuck in the mud and needed to be pushed out. The soldiers brought in ATV's in order to get them through the extremely rough terrain. It was approximately a three mile journey to find the burnt remains of the twin engine aircraft. The haphazard tracks in the mud made it clear that the aircraft crash landed. And while the drugs were long gone - seized by police officers - they left the gallons of suspected fuel. That crash site told a tale that something may have gone amiss - especially with the capture of several men, including law enforcement agents, by the police. Plenty of BDF soldiers and police officers were still on the ground when our team arrived at the site.

As we told you earlier, the estimated total weight of the drugs is 1632 pounds, about three quarters of a tonne.

Channel 7


Re: Drug Plane Landing [Re: Marty] #547915
02/02/21 05:58 AM
02/02/21 05:58 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 72,050
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

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Marty  Offline OP

Narco Nine to Court

This morning police men Tyrell Talbert, Byron Claire, and Steve Rowland along with six others were all arraigned in Orange Walk magistrate's court on charges of drug possession and breach of curfew.

The other accused include Garrett Banner, Fitzgerald Claire, Marlon Reyes, Edward Reneau and Dwight Mcfadzean.

These are the alleged narco nine who were found in a boat on the New River lagoon on Friday, in possession of 2 bales, or 60 kilos of cocaine, shortly after the crash landing of a twin-engine drug plane.

And since jurisdiction over the area is within the domain of the Orange Walk's court that's where they were affirmed today. Here's more with help from our colleagues at CTV-3.

The alleged Narco Nine from Friday's drug bust had their day in Orange Walk's magistrate court today.

It was a heavily guarded scene with soldiers and weapons at the ready. But while the cops may have feared that these men's alleged comrades might try and spring them, their high powered attorney wasn't allowing anyone to jump to conclusions.

Dickie Bradley, Attorney
"The nine accused persons were arraigned in the magistrate's court of Senior magistrate Merleen Moody and they were called upon to plea and they all plead not guilty and the matter has been adjourned until the sixth day of April."

"The police detained nine persons who did not come out of a plane, did not seen jumping out of the plane, were not found loading or unloading the plane and in there statement to the public they say that all nine of them had a quantity of drugs and they have charged them for that. You need to give the system a little chance to work and not hammer and gamma people before they even get a chance to give side. We creole's we have a phrase that you could be at the wrong place at the wrong time."

"If you hear that plane has crashed you wouldn't want to see if you could rescue somebody or try and go to the scene of a crash, there was presumably according to something that there was a big ball of fire."

The Press did press Bradley about the circumstances of his client's arrests but they were met with this response.

Dickie Bradley, Attorney
"Possession of two bales wow ok well I guess that matter will be tested when it comes to court. All nine of them were in possession of two bales? or the tow bales were in one of the fishing net or something, you didn't get the details."

"You know one of the problems in a small society is that these 9 people are already convicted; it's just a matter of sentencing them, they're all guilty. They don't need a trial."

But they had their first day in court, and while they couldn't get bail here, they're set to apply for it at the Supreme court.

Dickie Bradley, Attorney
"The Magistrate under the Crime control act is not able to grant bail because of the quantity of cocaine and the law in this country, thank goodness, the law in this country is that have a right to apply to the Supreme Court to in fact restore their freedom, because you'll hear the adjourned date is until April. Why would innocent people be in prison until April?"

Innocent until proven guilty, if the police can prove it:

Dickie Bradley, Attorney
"They did not come on the plane that had the drugs. You can't go fishing in your own lagoon? I leave you with that hear."

Bradley is jointly representing the men along with his co-council Leeroy Banner.

Their next court appearance is at 9 a.m. on April 6th.

Police say they are still seeking other suspects.

Cops Caught (Almost) A Tonne of “Coke”

That's a supposed fishing expedition that has them in a world of trouble, and this morning Commissioner of Police Chester Williams gave us an update on that investigation saying that over the weekend the cops managed to find 3 additional cocaine bales near the sight of the crash.

Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police
"Subsequent to what we had reported on Friday where we had said that a total of 25 bales were recovered we conducted search of the Crooked Tree Lagoon on Saturday and we found an additional three Bales, each Bales containing 30 packs so that's an additional 90 packs so that will bring our total amount to 28 bales or 940 bricks, you would know that each brick would contain either one kilo or you would know that in some cases they would have more than a kilo, so it would bring the total find to just over 2000 pounds of cocaine."

"It could have been that when the police approached those persons from the boat they may have thrown those three bales out of the boat prior to the police capturing them and so our search in the area did result in the find."

"We do not believe that those persons are still in the country. I can say that from the size of the plane that came in which is a small twin-engine plane, they could not have gone with too much. We believe that we were able to find over 75% of what that plane could have brought in so whatever they took with them is not the bulk of what came in."

With this additional find, the total weight of the drugs recovered from this bust is now 28 bails with a total weight of 2,094 pounds, just under a tonne.

Channel 7


Re: Drug Plane Landing [Re: Marty] #548002
02/06/21 05:45 AM
02/06/21 05:45 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 72,050
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

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Marty  Offline OP
Bail For The Narco 9

The defendants, were scheduled to have a bail hearing before a Supreme Court judge today. Again, those accused are the 3 lawmen: Tyrell Talbert, Byron Claire, and Steve Rowland; and the civilians: Garrett Banner, Fitzgerald Claire, Marlon Reyes, Edward Reneau, and Dwight Mcfadzean, and another defendant.

They have been jointly for Possession of a Controlled Drug with Intent to Supply and Breach of Curfew, to which they all pleaded not guilty. We are informed that they appeared virtually before Justice Antoinette Moore.

Their attorneys, Richard "Dickie" Bradley and Leeroy Banner made the application on their behalf, and since Crown Counsel Romy Wade did not object, the judge granted them bail in the sum of 20,000 each.

The bail comes with the conditions that they must surrender their travel documents, and they must not leave the country without the express permission of the court. Also, they must report to different police stations once a week until their case is disposed of.

Channel 7


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