The Belize Coast Guard has been a part of several joint operations involving the Belize Police Department, Customs Department and Fisheries Department among other agencies. As we approach the end of January, the Belize Coast Guard has made three marijuana seizures in various areas of the country. At a briefing this morning at the Coast Guard Headquarters, Lieutenant Greg Soberanis spoke of the seizures that took place in San Pedro Town, Consejo Village, Corozal District and Belize City.
“There were three marijuana seizures throughout the months of January 2016. The first was in San Pedro where Coast Guard Patrol was conducting a stakeout when they observed a small vessel behaving in a suspicious manner. The patrol proceeded to intercept the vessel which sped off throwing a small package overboard. The package was retrieved and it was discovered to cannabis amounting to one hundred and thirty six point four grams. It was later handed over to the San Pedro Police and was labeled as found property. The second seizure also occurred in the area of Consejo where a joint patrol was conducted with the customs department. The join customs patrol intercepted a vessel which was believed to be conducting illegal activities. The vessel had two individuals on board. Upon conducting a search of the vessel, four packages each weighing over six and a half pounds of cannabis was found on board. The cannabis is currently secured and will be handed over to the anti-narcotics unit.
Outside of the drug seizures, the Belize Coast Guard had also managed to confiscate uncustomed goods on three separate occasions. Lieutenant Soberanis spoke first of the operation that took place north of San Pedro Town.
“While conducting operations in Northern San Pedro a vessel was sighted coming from the direction of Xcalak. It was intercepted by the Coast Guard patrol and on board the boarding party found several uncustomed goods on board. The individual were unable to produce receipts. They were detained and handed over to customs in San Pedro town. They were charged $2400.
Meanwhile in the Consejo area, a joint Customs and Coast Guard patrol intercepted a vessel containing illegal items.
“In the Consejo Area again the joint patrol with the Customs Department intercepted a vessel and upon inspection they discovered that the occupants had several uncustomed goods on board the vessel. The items were determined to be contraband items. The individuals on board claimed responsibility and were subsequently detained. An out of court settlement was reached at $5,000.
Lieutenant Soberanis told the media that these operations are just a part of the Belize Coast Guard mandate.
“In fulfilling Coast Guard Core maritime functions the Commandant of the Coast Guard has implemented measures to increase the operational tempo and battle rhythm of Coast Guard operations at sea. Through interagency collaboration and cooperation the Coast Guard has conducted several joint task force operations which has yielded significant results. Through the medium of the maritime security conference which is hosted monthly at the Coast Guard headquarters we have coordinated operations with our key maritime stakeholders to combat illicit and illegal from occurring in Belizean sea spaces. Throughout this reporting period for January 2016 we have conducted operations with the Belize Port Authority, Customs Department, Fisheries, BTB and the police department.”
Majority of contraband goods are reportedly smuggled in from the north of the country.