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Police Conduct Sweep of San Pedro Town

Posted By: Marty

Police Conduct Sweep of San Pedro Town - 03/12/15 11:01 AM

An intense sweep of San Pedro Town has resulted in multiple arrests for criminal offenses ranging from drug trafficking and firearm possession to attempted murder. The crackdown led to the detention of twenty-one-year-old Deshawn Goff, who has since been charged for the Attempted Murder of thirteen-year-old Meredith Escalante. The minor was shot to the left side of the chest inside her home at the Espat Apartments on February eleventh while preparing for supper. Goff has additionally been charged with Dangerous Harm and Use of Deadly Means of Harm. It is widely believed that the intended target of that shooting was Rolando Espat Senior, who resides in an apartment next door. While no further connection has been established, Espatís single-room abode came under attack almost two weeks later when gunshots rang out in the early hours of February twenty-fourth. His wife and two-year-old son were both injured during the incident; the toddler perishing while receiving medical attention at the polyclinic. To date that case remains open.

10 Charged for Firearm Offences in San Pedro

Elsewhere during the recent police offensive, a raid on the residence of another notorious San Pedrano family yielded an unlicensed firearm and eight rounds of matching ammunition.† Fifty-one-year-old Peter Moses Hernandez, also known as Campos, and nine others, all of a San Juan Area address, have been arrested and charged jointly for the offenses of kept firearm without a gun license and kept ammunition without a gun license.† Arraigned were twenty-six-year-old Marciana Campos, twenty-three-year-old Teresita Cordova, forty-eight-year-old Guadalupe Gonzalez, forty-two-year-old Victor Vasquez, fifty-two-year-old John Arana, thirty-year-old Michael Edwards, twenty-seven-year-old Juan Gomez, Laura Trapp and twenty-five-year-old Pedro Campos.† Today, the group was brought to Belize City via a one-thirty Caye Caulker Water Taxi that arrived just before three p.m. at the terminal on North Front Street. They were escorted by GSU officers into a police van and several GSU pickup trucks and taken to the Central Prison in Hattieville. Their arraignment succeeded a search of their home during ongoing drug operations by GSU officers and San Pedro Police on the island. A point twenty-two Taurus brand pistol, along with a cartridge containing eight rounds of Fiocchi brand ammunition were confiscated at the house.† Also found was a small box containing fifteen live rounds of Fiocchi brand ammo.

Channel 5

Posted By: seaglass

Re: Police Conduct Sweep of San Pedro Town - 03/13/15 03:02 AM

TRAVEL WARNINGS
San Pedro was on the list! Very disappointing.....hopefully this will be taken seriously, and "clean-up" will continue
Posted By: Chris

Re: Police Conduct Sweep of San Pedro Town - 03/14/15 06:41 AM

oh God, the "My boys wouldn't hurt a fly" crowd are out in force and with attorneys like Mr. Salgado to protect them the gig will soon be up for Ambergris Caye as the island becomes more infested with thieves, drugs and murderers.
Posted By: Gaz Cooper

Re: Police Conduct Sweep of San Pedro Town - 03/14/15 07:17 AM

Don't expect the bad guys to be happy about the Police spoiling there reign over the island and now they will try every trick in the book to get out of the charges.

If the Police were smart they would be video taping all the raids and doing the searches etc BY THE BOOK backed up with video evidence of correct Police procedures being followed at every step.

Most cases are thrown out because Police procedure was not followed and the lawyers will jump right on that so the Police have to do their job professionally and with transparency and that can easily be done by having a videographer follow them on raids

Posted By: Mike Campbell

Re: Police Conduct Sweep of San Pedro Town - 03/14/15 01:02 PM

And no one has the slightest concern over the allegations that the gun was planted and people that have not been found guilty of any crime are imprisoned. Our constitution is toilet paper. Wake up.
The gun controversy is easy one. Check the fingerprints on the gun. Our magar forensics can do that. The police are proven liars and criminals unlike those they accuse. How anyone in their right mind can think that conducting war on weed will help the crime situation is difficult to understand. Please explain.
Posted By: tahunt

Re: Police Conduct Sweep of San Pedro Town - 03/14/15 07:42 PM

I don't think a little weed seems to be the issue. It's all about drug dealers and their territory. You wouldn't see the hardline tactics if drug dealers weren't trying to protect their turf by firing shots through walls and windows.
Posted By: Shyboy

Re: Police Conduct Sweep of San Pedro Town - 03/15/15 01:32 AM

Thank you for that point tahunt... If the new kid on the block can make a comment... There is no such thing as perfection:: Ferguson is a good example... Nothing is black and white except film. It's really simple; which side of the fence do you fall on. Do you want more civil rights for all or less civil rights for all and more protection for most. When it swings too far in either direction, there is a correction.

Right now there is a nasty crime problem on our Island.


Posted By: tahunt

Re: Police Conduct Sweep of San Pedro Town - 03/15/15 02:56 AM

Nasty is putting it lightly. I have worked for an airline for 25 years and it has given me the fortune of being able to travel frequently. So I have traveled to San Pedro more than a dozen times and I love the island and the people whom I have met there. It just seems over the last 2 years or so crime is out of control. Crime being burglaries, stabbings, murder, buried bodies, and I will also include dishonest police and their shake downs. There were more murders there last year than the town I live in which is a suburb of Dallas with 300,000 people. Something has to give. The court system is a failure because no one is ever convicted. I believe police are understaffed but its hard to argue for more troops when every time I have driven by the police station everyone is out front sitting on the vehicles watching traffic go by. These guys should be on routine patrols just as every city's police do. If they are serious about fixing the crime problem the police need to look at themselves and their own operation. I just hope they make some headway soon before tourism is affected. If tourism numbers drop I would bet my last dollar burglaries and robberies will rise.
Posted By: Chuck V

Re: Police Conduct Sweep of San Pedro Town - 03/15/15 09:27 PM

"..... Inside the hall inside a childís schoolbag was found a point two-two weapon along with ammunition, where members of the family saw the Police planting it there. These people were taken before the Magistrate on Wednesday. A person that was inside plead guilty to the offence as charged. He took responsibility for it."

So they saw the police "plant" the weapon and then one of them took responsibility for it? Seems odd.....
Posted By: Chris

Re: Police Conduct Sweep of San Pedro Town - 03/16/15 06:18 AM

Yes, Yes, Mike Campbell, legalize it all, end the war on drugs, the drug dealers are all innocent, let them do their stuff, the police are all liars and crooks. OK, now that you've got that off your chest what do you, as a person who once ran for office and the trust of the people in San Pedro, propose as an urgent and immediate solution to the five murders and multiple gun injuries and 100's of robberies, thefts and burglaries we've already seen in 2015?
Posted By: Mike Campbell

Re: Police Conduct Sweep of San Pedro Town - 03/16/15 11:49 AM

Yes Chris, It is true I do not believe that police abuse will solve the problem. We have made sure that we have a social problem by not trying to expand economic opportunities beyond Tourism, a hard concept I must admit, but, until something is done to expand our economy this problem will exist. Those who think that extreme police presence and hard tactics will succeed only need to look at history to see that it does not work. Everyone must have respect for the police and it must be earned. The head in the sand mentality will not solve the problem. Social programs of which we have none, combined with honest police and courts that dispense justice will. We dont have any of those. Welcome to San Police.
Civil rights abuses have never solved any crimes and never will. I pity those of you who are so willing to give away your rights. At the end of the day you wont have any rights at all. We must follow our constitution which is abused daily. I have lobbied for years for the correct amount of police and structural changes in the force as well as an expended economic program creating non tourism jobs. I started this long before our current epidemic because I could see it coming like a locomotive barreling down the track. What have you done?
Posted By: Chris

Re: Police Conduct Sweep of San Pedro Town - 03/16/15 01:47 PM

Mike, I've obviously done just as much as you because it's clearly not enough.
Posted By: Mike Campbell

Re: Police Conduct Sweep of San Pedro Town - 03/16/15 05:06 PM

Chris the point is we have to do some things differently as what we have been doing for years does not work as we can now see. We have one of the highest ration of police to citizens ratio anywhere and additional recruits do not seem to alter the situation in any way. Belize has about 5 police per thousand persons. The US has about 2.3 police per thousand (and the highest incarceration rate in the world)and Canada has about 2 police per thousand. US and Canada have conviction rates of 70% and higher. We have 5 police per thousand and a conviction rate in single digits. To me this indicates a systemic problem. If we had the same per person police ration as the US we could pay them twice as much as we currently do.
I will go so far as to say our law enforcement model is seriously flawed. We have all these disjointed Units and every criminal crisis we make a new unit but none are named, Homicide, Sexual Offenses, Robbery, Crimes Against Children. We need to remodel the police department using a different model than what we have. We need to look at others to see what is working for them. We can not afford to wallow in our own ignorance for much longer.
The crime situation is a reflection of a general moral decay in our society and we must have police that are above reproach and use our money in an efficient way and treat us all with the same respect they wish to receive from us. If you treat a man like an animal he will become one. If you treat him professionally and with respect even though he may be ACCUSSED of a crime he may also learn to have respect for law officers and thus the law they represent.
WE MUST CREATE JOBS. I have had too many young black men on San Pedro come and tell me "Mister Mike, they wont even give us a chance, no one will give us a job and the police pick us up and beat us for nothing." Where does this road lead?
Posted By: pamkillen

Re: Police Conduct Sweep of San Pedro Town - 03/16/15 09:38 PM

There are families here who have been in the trade for years and generations and many people have known who they are. I always wonder why , when the people are known, nothing is done to stop them. They threaten local people to be quiet because of fear of retaliation whether it be physical or verbal or political.
It takes an outside force who does not know the players or is not related to them to actual come in and objectively make an arrest. 98% of the criminals I know say they are innocent and it helps no one to believe them. They will all have their day in court and I hope they are treated fairly and then get a maximum sentence.
Deterence will only happen if the law comes down heavily on these people. They are destroying their kids and friends kids and the community.
Posted By: ScubaLdy

Re: Police Conduct Sweep of San Pedro Town - 03/17/15 03:46 AM

I was pleasantly surprised to read in the S P Sun - under the police report - that in addition to the many arrests for small amount of ganja - there were at least three busts for people with large amounts and they were listed as being charged as drug dealers. HOORAY!
Posted By: Uncle Buck

Re: Police Conduct Sweep of San Pedro Town - 03/17/15 04:48 AM

Its totally pointless though, because once this round of dealers is taken off the island, others will come to replace them Ad nauseam. Most drug violence in Latin America is associated with Marijuana. Tens of thousands of people are murdered throughout this part of the world for a plant that causes little to no harm. The only solution to the problem is legalization/decriminalization. Plus we can use all the money saved in fighting this pointless, losing battle to help educate the poor and create jobs...which is the only real long term solution to the other crime problems that aren't associated with "drugs" (robberies, theft, etc)

These social ills weren't created overnight, so don't expect a short term solution.
Posted By: bywarren

Re: Police Conduct Sweep of San Pedro Town - 03/17/15 11:31 AM

Belize is on the path to decriminalize marijuana. I doubt if it will have any effect on violent crime, the type we are experiencing. The Plyadors are not walking the beach looking for a joint to float up.
Posted By: BZ Bound

Re: Police Conduct Sweep of San Pedro Town - 03/17/15 11:43 AM

I agree Uncle Buck. Sure the drug dealers will turn to another drug to push most likely, but weed is the one with real demand. Once people stop getting their weed from the drug dealers, that trade will dry up by a large margin I think. I do think it would help greatly to have more jobs for these people instead of turning to drug dealing though.
Posted By: bywarren

Re: Police Conduct Sweep of San Pedro Town - 03/17/15 12:12 PM

Anyone who thinks the big money and the violence accompanying it is a result of weed, is living in the sixties.
Dealing in drugs is kind of like the retaraunt business. Selling pot is like flipping burgers at McDonalds for minimum wage. What you want is to own a five star restaurant selling steak tartare from Kobe beef at a couple hundred dollars a plate. smirk
Posted By: Uncle Buck

Re: Police Conduct Sweep of San Pedro Town - 03/17/15 03:45 PM

No, you are wrong. A huge percentage of money made from selling illegal drugs in Belize and Latin America is from weed. Your example is accurate in a way, but its like being the owner of McDonald -vs- the owner of five star restaurant. Both are good, but the big money is in what the average man wants and can afford. Also the majority of Belizeans can't afford a steak tartar. I lived and worked in San pedro for years, and spent ALOT of time in San pedrito...the cash crop is Weed. I too was surprised to find such a benign plant was behind alot of this violence, but it's true. Here's a quote from an article about the Mexico drug wars...

It is true that gangs make considerable amounts of money selling marijuana. According to some government estimates, Mexican drug cartels make more than 60 percent of their profits from marijuana alone


Although the figures vary depending on the study, and I picked the largest number to support my case, but the fact remains it's a huge driver in the Latin American drug war, and Belize especially with the lower income and a cultural proclivity towards weed.
Posted By: bywarren

Re: Police Conduct Sweep of San Pedro Town - 03/17/15 04:03 PM

I will take into consideration your opinions based on your stated experience with illegal drugs.
Posted By: Uncle Buck

Re: Police Conduct Sweep of San Pedro Town - 03/17/15 04:28 PM

Sounds good. They are facts sir, not opinions.
Posted By: bywarren

Re: Police Conduct Sweep of San Pedro Town - 03/17/15 04:54 PM

I am not interested in a debate on the merits of legalizing marijuana. I will leave that to others. And, I can't assert it to be fact, but it appears to me that the current violence here on Ambergris Cay has more to do with other drugs. Either way, the pressing need is how to get rid of the bad guys ASAP.
Creating jobs and addressing social issues are great long term goals. The people getting shot and killed don't have a need for a job or a better society.
Posted By: Uncle Buck

Re: Police Conduct Sweep of San Pedro Town - 03/17/15 08:25 PM

Some good points bywarren. There really isn't a quick fix through law enforcement though, because once this round of "bad guys" is gone more will come. Also human nature (greed) plays a big roll, and alot of the police may take payoffs to let certain people remain and deal drugs. You can say "well lets just get rid of the bad cops too" but it just doesnt work like that. It's a small country and alot of these guys on both sides of the law went to school together, or are related, etc.

As a citizen of Belize and someone that has spent a lot of time there, I don't see any viable solution other than legalization of weed, and decriminalization of small amounts of other "hard drugs" That would free up time and resources to focus on other violent crimes and theft.
Posted By: bywarren

Re: Police Conduct Sweep of San Pedro Town - 03/17/15 09:16 PM

Wow, not being a citizen of Belize and not spending enough time here, I would have never figured out that all it takes is to legalize weed to get rid of the bad guys and to reform the police.
Posted By: Uncle Buck

Re: Police Conduct Sweep of San Pedro Town - 03/17/15 09:44 PM

Yeah, because the violent war on drugs has worked so well over the past 30 or so years! It's totally solved the problem!

All kidding aside the legalization thing its just part of the solution, along with treating drug addiction as a medical problem and not a criminal one. We could then take the money saved and invest it in infrastructure, job creation, etc. That way over time it would help lower other criminal activities and social ills not associated with the drug trade. There is no question that the illegal drug trade is fueling this gang violence, so taking that away would seemingly have a positive effect.

Posted By: bywarren

Re: Police Conduct Sweep of San Pedro Town - 03/17/15 10:15 PM

I am not kidding. I attended the latest crime meeting in San Pedrito. No one there, not the police or residents, talked of a solution being the legalization of drugs.
They need immediate solutions, not long term goals and that is what this topic should be about.
If you get run over by a drunk driver, you are more concerned about getting immediate medical treatment than long term programs to help alcohol addiction.
Posted By: Mike Campbell

Re: Police Conduct Sweep of San Pedro Town - 03/17/15 11:11 PM

The closest parallel we have is teh Prohibition of Alcohol in the US. An Evangelically influenced Congress recognized the dangers of alcohol and it was prohibited by law (Volstead Act)to make, posses, use alcoholic beverages. This was the start of organized crime in the US and ushered in the most violent criminal era in the history of the US. Enterprising people took advantage and a huge industry developed around prohibition. Turf wars and wars with the police raged with no real victory by the police. This was the time of Al Capone and the the origins of most of the mafia crime families. A great many police and politicians were in the pockets of the Racketeers involved in the illegal sale of alcoholic beverages because the public wanted to drink and did so regardless of the law. This violent era was only stopped by the repeal of the prohibition of alcohol. It was still a very dangerous substance but the public wanted it and repealing the Volstead Act was the only way to stop the violence but only after organized crime was firmly entrenched in American society.
More recently, Mujica, out going president of Uruguay, was asked why he legalized weed, did he think smoking it was ok? He said most definitely not, smoking weed is bad, drinking alcohol is bad and smoking cigarettes is bad and no one should use any of them. He said that he legalized weed because there were 150,000 citizens that smoked it and he refused to let them be at the mercy of the cartels.
Posted By: concerned traveler

Re: Police Conduct Sweep of San Pedro Town - 06/15/15 06:25 PM

Diego Wade stole $140USD from me and my girlfriend. He is scum and is better spent floating away in the ocean rather than taking up space on the island
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