Several persons caught illegally entering into Belize compounded their infractions when they were caught in possession of contraband beers. The illegal crossings are posing a problem for the authorities amid the Covid-19 pandemic as even locals are sneaking across into Mexico and coming back home via the informal routes. The Police Department is looking to rain down on these culprits via future joint operations. Commissioner of Police, Chester Williams went up north today to examine the various illegal crossings. He invited the media to tag along, making the first stop in San Victor Village, Corozal District. Commissioner Williams had to say about what prompted his visit to the area.
Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police: “We continue to get information that persons who are engaged in the contraband trade continue to go across the Mexican side knowing the situation over that side of the border getting contraband and coming back over to Belize. We believe that doing so puts those persons at risk of contracting the virus over the Mexican side and then bringing it over to the Belizean side and so considering the fact that we are in a state of emergency dealing with the whole issue of the COVID-19 pandemic it is only prudent that we take all precautionary measures to ensure that we keep the people of our country as well as our country free of the COVID-19 virus.”
Reporter: Now we know that you visited some houses within the village, these individuals are they known contrabandistas or ordinary residents who you just wanted to send that advice out to for them to pass on that information ?
Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police: “Well I look at them as persons within the village who we believe can assist us in using their influence to deter those persons who are involved in the contraband trade and I am happy to say that every person we visited they were very much receptive to us and they all expressed their own concerns as well in terms of people going over to the Mexican side and coming back over this side. So we are looking at this in a positive light that after today we’ll see a huge difference and I must say a special thank you as well to the chairman who again went along with us in the different areas with a view to see how he too can use his influence to talk to his villagers with a view to ensure that we bring this contraband issue to a halt especially knowing the situation we’re in at this time.”
The tour was to warn residents in the hotspots villages that a Military operation will be present in the area after this so they should discourage other residents from crossing the border. Our first stop was at San Victor Village and here is what Fifty-seven minutes away from San Victor was Santa Cruz and that was our second stop. Santa Cruz is the main hotspot as it is right across from Botes.
Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police: “Looking from here you can see the Mexican village of Botes so it’s a very convenient location for contraband however as you can see we had the presence of the BDF here and we also have a police patrol for this area specifically for this area so with that I believe we have been able to curtail the occurrences of contraband within this Santa Cruz area and again there’s a number of boats in some corner over there that were being used to run contraband, we have some degree of control over them now so to some extent we have disabled the people who are doing the contraband but there are still many blind spots in the area that needs to be monitored and what is done with the BDF boat patrol is that they go to Douglas to the east and then to Blue Creek to the west ensuring that the entire river areas is patrolled on a daily basis looking for those persons who are trying to take advantage of the blind spots.”