Last week rumors circulated that some of the cocaine from the major bust on the Coastal Road had gone missing. The rumor was that the drug was not yet taken into the exhibit room and that they were being held in the training room until processing was completed. Senior police officials denied the rumor and called it mischief. Today, the media was invited to see first hand how the drugs were destroyed.
440 parcels of cocaine went up in smoke in Western Belize earlier today. The drug was taken from Belize City, past Belmopan guarded by over a dozen officers from various national security units. As the destruction got underway just before 11pm off the George Price Highway thick plumes of black smoke formed as each parcel was placed in the inferno. The destruction of the 480.2 kilograms of cocaine lasted for almost three hours in the presence of several witnesses. Leading the destruction was commander of operations Deputy Commissioner Chester Williams.
Chester Williams, Deputy Commissioner of Police: “We have received the order for destruction from the Magistrate’s Court and so we are now in the process of doing what is required by law to destroy the drugs to be able to get it out our custody. The way how the destruction process goes is that first we must get the confirmation from the lab that the content of the parcels are indeed cocaine. After we have received that then we make an application to the Magistrate’s Court for an order of destruction, once the magistrate grants that order then we go into the practical aspect of destruction and the requires by law the we have certain people present as witnesses to the process. One of the people that must be present is a magistrate, we must have a Justice of the Peace and then we have a member of the media who would be the media witness to the process and so the persons who you are seeing witnessing are those persons who are authorized by law to witness and one of the process is that each and every parcel must be open and then the chemist do the field test on the ground again to show that what the parcels contain are indeed cocaine that is being destroyed.”
Each parcel valued at an estimated $15,000 was accounted for by the witnesses on site and several packages were randomly tested by the chemist from the National Forensic Unit. The product destroyed today is the mega load that a joint operation had uncovered on Thursday November 1 on the Coastal Road. According to Williams drugs are not the only illegal elements that are destroyed from time to time.
Chester Williams, Deputy Commissioner of Police: “Whenever we have a large number then we go into destruction process and firearms are destroyed differently than the drugs, we can’t burn them so what we do is that we normally would cut them into pieces and dispose of them.”
Reporter: When was the last time you had a firearm destruction ?
Chester Williams, Deputy Commissioner of Police: “I cannot recall when the last time was.”
The destruction was completed just before 1pm.
In total there were fifteen sacks of drugs; fourteen of them contained thirty parcels and one had twenty.