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Guatemalan caught Gold Panning in Chiquibul

A man was caught illegally gold panning in the Chiquibul National Park. On Friday, May 31, conservation rangers and special constables operating in the Ceibo Chico area of the Chiquibul National Park, 7.5 kilometers inside Belize, intercepted three Guatemalan gold panners.  Two of the gold panners escaped into nearby bushes. The third suspect was caught but struggled to escape a Special Constable. According to a press release, he had to be subdued before being arrested for illegal entry into the Chiquibul National Park. The man has been identified as  22-year-old Guatemalan national Salomon Martinez Pascual, a repeat offender. He was found with 5 grams of gold in a small vial. Pascual was  handed over to the San Ignacio Police. On Monday, June three, Pascual was charged with illegal entry into a National Park and with immigration offences. He pled guilty and was fined $3,000 or 12 months in prison for illegal entry into the National Park; and $1,000 or 6 months in prison for immigration offences.  The vial with gold was handed over to the Mining Unit for additional charges to be laid against him.