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September 13
10:04 2018
REPORTER: News Staff, -

On Tuesday, following the interception of a single engine Cessna airplane in the Tres Leguas area of Blue Creek in the Orange Walk district, Police top brass hosted a press conference to provide more details on the very significant bust.

Flanked by Minister of National Security John Saldivarand Deputy Minister Elodio Aragon Jr., Commissioner of Police Allen Whylie explained that interception was the result of a coordinated effort and a new strategy implemented by the Ministry to act on information of drug planes heading to Belize.

“At about 2:06 we received information that an unregistered aircraft departed Venezuela. The Police activated a number of sources to assist us in monitoring activities countrywide. We continued to mount surveillance on some of the persons we believe to be involved in these activities,” revealed Whylie.

That hours long sustained operation led a joint Police/BDF team to the north, where a plane was heard circling, and at around 9:00pm, near the Northern Community airstrip in Blue Creek, Whylie says the team encountered Police Constable Norman Anthony, assigned to Blue Creek. He was unable to properly account for his being on the scene, and was detained by the team. Just minutes after, they found the plane being offloaded.

Whylie explained that, “they came under fire. The consequently returned fire. There was a firefight for I believe half an hour to 45 minutes but it was obvious that the joint Police/BDF team was superior. They were able to overcome the firefight resistance and they were able to approach where they saw an airplane which they then secured and secured the area.”

In addition to 26 bales of suspected cocaine, Police also found Blue Creek resident Peter Friesen and two Mexicans, Ali Figueroa Nunez and Azarias Manzano who were all detained. Near the plane was a white pickup with Mexican plates and a motorcycle without plates. Police also found a navigation map and a notebook, but did not disclose if the notebook contained coordinates or other information that could assist them in their investigation.

Since late last year, evidence including the burnt remains of at least ten planes have been discovered after the fact, when any cargo they may have carried has been long offloaded. When asked about that record, John Saldivar disputed any assertion that a majority of Belizeans are skeptical of the Belize Police Department, saying that “the Government of Belize and certainly the Ministry of National Security have been working diligently to try to change our modus, to change our strategies and all we can say at this time is that the changes that we have made we believe have led to this great success, and we will have to learn from this success. That is our intention.”

According to Saldivar, they will do a post-mortem analysis to determine the factors which contributed to this successful interception. Although five men have now been arrested and charged, Police say that the investigation is still ongoing.

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We are in full support of our lawmen and their hard-work to prevent our country form being used as a drug-drop-zone or transit corridor. We are certain that the ongoing investigation will uncover details that we believe the public should also be made aware of.

There are no single engine piston-driven Prop Aircraft manufactured by Cessna the can fly 2,735km or 1,700 miles, which is the approximate distance from Venezuela to Belize. ( unless the aircraft was modified with additional fuel tanks).

The weight limit of the plane used to transport said drugs is approximately 3,000 to 3,500 pounds. any weight in excess of the plane’s capability would prevent it from taking off.

556 Kilograms of cocaine was found on the aircraft,  (1,225 pounds).

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