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Guatemalan nationals found panning for gold in Chiquibul Reserve

Six Guatemalan gold panners have been charged on several counts over the weekend. The men were detained on Saturday afternoon, some eight kilometres inside Belize in the Chiquibul National Park. They have been identified as 38-year-old Agusto Perez Gonzalez of Dolores Peten, 26 year old Wilfredo Antoniel Chavez of Barrio Nuevo, 18 years old Dimas Espana of Las Brisas, and two seventeen year old teenagers, one from Las Brisas and another from Peten, Guatemala. They were escorted to the Ceibo Chico Conservation Post and then on foot to Millonario. They were then transported on a BDF truck and handed over to the San Ignacio Police. All six individuals are facing charges of illegal entry, mineral extraction without a permit and defacing a protected area. They were caught by a patrol unit comprised of BDF, and a FCD Park Ranger stationed at Ceibo Chico Conservation Post. The unit detected them by the sound of voices coming from a camp located nearby the Ceibo Chico creek. When they made checks, the unit found four male persons inside a pit digging while two others were carrying water in small containers. The unit also found two camps with clothes, food items, machetes and a homemade shotgun hidden under their clothes.