Yesterday, we heard the Coast Guard Commandant discuss sudden scarcity of drug plane landings in Belize. And while that is a good thing - we know that global cocaine demand remains high - and it's not like the global transnationals are going out of business.

So where's it coming from? Well, how about Southern Belize!?A joint law enforcement team including the BDF, the Coast Guard, and Police yesterday found three clandestine plantations of the coca plant along the Sarstoon River near the remote Graham Creek Village in the Toledo District. The coca plant is used to produce cocaine. Unidentified culprits had basically set up the early makings of cocaine labs on the southern edge of Belizean territory.

So, that joint law enforcement team went out to that part of the country and destroyed approximately 120 thousand plants on all three of those plantations. During a press encounter today, we asked General Loria, the head of the Belize Defense Force, about that anti-drug operation. Here are his comments:

Brigadier General Azariel Loria, Commander, B.D.F.
"This morning, there was a special operation conducted in that area you mentioned, south west of Graham Creek. It is a small village close to the Sarstoon, about a mile and a half north of the Sarstoon where we discovered three plantations, coca plantations. But, that was something inbound to happen. The Guatemalans they have destroyed some three to five kilometres to the south of that general area where we discovered the plantation. So, the first plantation had about ten thousand plants ranging in two to three feet. The second plantation had about twenty thousand plants in the same height. And, the other one was a really huge plantation of about eighty thousand coca plants. That is what we went to destroy with the police and the coast guard."

"In Belizean territory?"

Brigadier General Azariel Loria
"In Belizean territory, just north of the Sarstoon, so we will keep patrolling the area and we caught this on time. They were not mature yet, it had been recently planted."

"Recent human activity within that vicinity?"

Brigadier General Azariel Loria
"That is part of the investigation. We are tracking that. We are investigating that at this point in time and we will report in due course, but there has to be some activity in that area. Remember that the farms are not too far away from that same village that I told you about."

"The area in question usually the transnational criminal organizations they look for remote areas and that is a remote area for them to conduct their illicit activities. The police cannot reach there. We have operational reach and we can reach up to all the confines the country of Belize and that's what we are doing. Usually, the Belize Defence Force conducts air flights, air reconnaissance missions and looking around our borders to see if of those plantations, those illegal activities happening."

Channel 7