Coast Guard’s covert operation busts two

The Island Newspaper, Ambergris Caye, Belize            Vol. 18, No. 2            January 10, 2008

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Andrew Swan

Juan Cuz

Two Hispanic men who had a reputation for being involved in illegal activities and intimidating fishermen and locals in north Ambergris Caye have been caught. Both men are presently in the Hattieville Prison awaiting trail proceedings which will be held on February 7th, 2008.

    Official reports state that sometime around 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, January 5th, members of the Belize National Coast Guard conducted a search near Bacalar Chico in the Rocky Point Area of Ambergris Caye. In that vicinity, officials came upon two persons, namely, Juan Cuz and James Swan who after being searched were found in possession of two prohibited firearms along with a number of ammunition and a quantity of marijuana.

    According to our news associates Channel 7 News Search Mission Coordinator Johnny Borland, commented that when the men were intercepted they claimed that they were surprised and uttered that they had been hunting. “This was really a snap or surprise operation where we caught them completely off guard. In fact they did not even put up a fight or even resist. One of the men was cooking and the other one was in the process of tuning an A.M./F.M. radio. The weapons were laid out beside them within arms reach. The team that went in there was covert, did a close target reconnaissance, and launched the operation without them even being aware of what happened. Both of them claimed they had these firearms and that they used them for hunting. Of course, we knew differently as we had many reports of these people operating often times in hostile mode in that area intimidating the locals and the fishermen and being involved in other illegal activities such as robbery, narcotics, involvement in trade and that kind of activity.”

    Officials subsequently arrested both men who were later identified as Andrew Swan, 26, and Juan Cuz, 24, both unemployed of Punta Gorda. Sources at the San Pedro Police Department told The San Pedro Sun that these men gave Coast Guard officials erroneous information in regards to their residence. The men have had their fair share of run-ins with the San Pedro Police Department and the reports state that the men are in fact San Pedro residents. Nevertheless, both persons have been charged for two counts each of Kept Prohibited Firearm and Kept Unlicensed Ammunition as well as Possession of a Control Substance, namely marijuana which weighed 38 grams.

    Both men appeared for arraignment at the Supreme Court where Chief Magistrate Margaret McKenzie and Senior Superintendent Chester Williams both denied bail. Subsequently, Swan and Cuz and were remanded to Hattieville Prison until trail proceedings set for February 7th, 2008.
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