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129 Kilos Of Cocaine Burned

Posted By: Marty

129 Kilos Of Cocaine Burned - 12/08/11 02:13 PM

Very early this morning - while most of you were sleeping - the Eastern Division police department was fully activated - as the Anti Drug Unit and other elements mobilized to burn the 284 pounds of cocaine that were intercepted a week ago.

In the larger scheme of things 284 pounds is not all that much; police have intercepted tonnes in previous busts.

But the recent bust is still worth a minimum of two million dollars - and so the drugs had to be moved to the destruction site with maximum security - as if they were transporting gold bricks.

7news was there to see how it all went down as the drugs headed north to Loskot Sawmill in Orange Walk Town:

Jules Vasquez Reporting

The action started at 4:15 am with the police cargo truck rolling into the Raccoon Street Police Station and positioning itself right at the door to load up the 284 pounds of cocaine.

There was a very strong police presence and a strong presence of armed officers from the Belize special assignment group.

At 4:20 am, they started loading the cocaine in boxes a total of 111 bricks - carted in and locked in and at precisely 4:30 - the truck pulled out of the police station covered by a phalanx of nine police vehicles.

They headed up the northern highway under the blanket of pre-dawn darkness - when even criminals are sleeping - and only stray cats and security guards would see them rolling in a convoy nine deep.

That convoy arrived in Orange Walk at the Loskot Sawmil at about 5:30 am the smokestacks picturesque, like spires set against the morning sky

But this was no time to take in the scenery with police maintaining a strong presence outside the sawmill. Police proceeded into the compound secured the compound high and low with firearms on the ready.

At a few minutes to six - it was time to unload the cocaine which was a workout in itself - but not the kind of workout intended by this box.

The fires were stoked in the cylindrical cast iron furnace. The process begins with this, a well swung axe cleaving open the individual bricks right between the X and the so that they can be knifed in half

And then cracked apart and fed into the furious fire with the sealing broken and contents exposed random bricks are tested by the Forensic Department to certify that it is cocaine.

The number of each brick is called out so that the magistrate and the justice of the peace - as well as the OC for the drug unit can check it off on an inventory sheet.

The process takes about half hour to forty five minutes for two million dollars to go up in smoke, 129 kilos - belched out into the morning sky - the plume of smoke extending south over Orange Walk Town

And after cleaning off the tools, Police also got all official participants to sign off on this declaration and all individual officers were required to make their own declaration that they carried no drugs:

Jules Vasquez
"Explain the kind of stringencies that are in place to make sure that there is complete destruction, complete accountability of all the drugs."

Inspector Fitzroy Yearwood - Police Press Officer
"Well, Jules, it was done by fire in that furnace behind us. We carefully planned the operation, a little information was sent out to media personnel so that you can witness the transparency of this destruction. The persons involved - everybody - was sensitized, and after the destruction, the officers that were a part of the operation had to declare that they had none on them. We had to make certain that each item, by number, was thrown into that furnace, and at the end of that operation, we had to check the exhibit labels that were used. Each person had a tag that was opened publicly and viewed, and we all signed as to witnessing what actually took place here today."

Jules Vasquez
"Speaking specifically about the drugs, the label on them 'XT', have you all linked that to any known drug cartel or drug operative?"

Inspector Fitzroy Yearwood
"Not as yet, but we are in contact with out counterparts through Interpol, and hopefully we can say who actually was the owners of that."

Jules Vasquez
"Is it the opinion of the police department that there are still criminal elements interested in intercepting and retaining these drugs?"

Inspector Fitzroy Yearwood
"Jules, criminals on the street know that cocaine is in police custody. They will try their best to find it."

The Mexican national who was caught with the drugs is 44 year old Mexican Martin Machado Urias. He pleaded guilty to drug trafficking and importation of drugs and is serving a 24 year sentence at the Hattieville Prison.

Channel 7

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